Bringing the planet back to life: How to prevent bushfires destroying land

The secret lies with the aboriginal people

Whether you’re a resident of Australia, have been there on holiday, or have simply seen photos of their country ravaged by fires, it’s hard to stomach what is happening to the beauty of their landscape.

The fires have been fuelled by a combination of extreme heat, prolonged drought and strong winds as temperatures hit record-breaking heights from the impact of climate change.

Last year, their hottest day yet was recorded on December 18 at 41.9C – closing in on the highest temperature ever recorded on the planet from the Sahara Desert at 57.7C.

Every state and territory in Oz have experienced fires, with the biggest burning along stretches of the eastern and southern coast, including areas around Sydney and Adelaide.

[Credit: Shutterstock]

Now, it seems the secret to controlling them and minimising future devastation lies with the indigenous people thanks to their millennia-old knowledge of the land.

Utilising their expertise, the Firesticks Alliance organisation is now hoping to revive aboriginal land management wisdom and techniques to reinstate healthy land.

Speaking about the goals, lead fire practitioner Victor Steffensen said that by implementing this knowledge, they can restore landscapes including water quality and animal welfare.

Victor explained: “The good fires, they’re nurturing and it’s all about putting love in the landscape and spending more time to burn the right way.”

Chatting to Positive News, he added: “When we do that, we look after the land better. The land has a better health and better resilience and it becomes fruitful.”

[Credit: Firesticks Alliance Instagram]

Victor explained that all of the areas which Firesticks Alliance have managed from burning fire “the right way”, were unaffected by the 2019 wildfires.

This is because their skills and management of the land meant that when they deadly wildfires struck those areas, they simply went out rather than thriving and spreading.

He concluded: “I really hope that people in this country start working together and know that the indigenous knowledge of this country is crucial for our future.

“The sooner people realise that it benefits everyone, the better. We really don’t have any more time left, and it’s all about making a change now. We need to get on with it.”

The Firesticks Alliance crew now aim to shine a light on cultural burning which uses small-scale burns at the right time of year to minimise the risk of bigger deadlier wildfires.

These low-key burns of unused vegetation help restore habitats by eliminating what is no longer needed and encouraging healthy food and native grass to grow back.

Currently, however, western practice involves applying fire to the land to manage the build-up of fuel – yet these burn too hot and can destroy local habitats rather than heal them.

Only by listening to the indigenous people can we grasp how to maintain a healthy planet; including rainforest ecosystems, regrowth, and wildlife such as wallabies and kangaroos.

For more information, click here: Firesticks Alliance.

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