Cultural Burn Will Bring New Life

By Di Sneddon

The first historical cultural cool burn fire to take place in modern times in Singleton ignited intrigue amongst the 40 onlookers wanting to learn about the process last week.

Firesticks Alliance and Local Land Services in conjunction with the Wonnarua Nation Aboriginal Corporation conducted the cultural cool burn at the Minimbah Teaching Place over three days with the first step being a thorough explanation of the process.

Alliance Fire Practitioner Peter Townsend was one of about a dozen fire practitioners in attendance throughout the three day event to ensure all went to plan and it did with 10 hectares completed over the three days.

Peter explained that the process healed mother earth as it did those involved in the process.

Test burns on tiny mounds of ground debris watched for colour of both smoke and ash as well as the wind direction to determine the readiness of the earth for the burn. 

The aim of the slow cool process is to burn heavy fuel loads of fallen leaves and debris along with dead grassland and ground cover in a slow, managed process.

The process is deliberately slow and allows creatures living on the land to relocate away from the fire.

The amazing outcome of the process is that green, living bushland is minimally impacted by the passing of the small flames.

Trees are raked around to remove the debris so they too are not impacted.

“The aim is for not too much flame, just nice and slow, and we burn toward the wind, not with it,” Peter said.

“The land needs fire to regerminate, once the rubbish is gone, the land can breathe again.”

Peter said this first cool burn was a healing one and in the coming 12 months, another two similar burns would see the land start to recover.