The Wilinggin Fire Project is located on the Wilinggin Indigenous Protected Area in the Kimberley in Northern WA. It is owned and managed by the Traditional Owners of the land. The project uses Indigenous traditional knowledge and modern scientific practices to conduct early dry season burns which reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere from unmanaged wildfires in the late dry season. Traditional Owners are trained and employed as fire specialists and rangers. Funds from the sale of carbon credits are reinvested into ongoing management of Country, protecting vulnerable habitats, cultural sites and community infrastructure from destructive wildfires and mitigating the impact of weeds and feral animals on threatened species. The project is enabling transfer of traditional knowledge between generations and it is improving the wellbeing of Traditional Owners by strengthening connection to country.
Currently there are two ranger groups, the Wunggurr Rangers and the Nyaliga Rangers, formed in 2020, working on Wilinggin country. The rangers are based in the heart of Wilinggin country, on Gibb River Station along the renowned Gibb River Road and on Karunjie Station in the east of Wilinggin Country.. These rangers are responsible to and supported by Wilinggin Aboriginal Corporation and their Healthy Country Advisory Committee, which is made up of Traditional Owners representing the communities on Wilinggin country. The Wunggurr rangers receive administrative and other support from through the ranger program managed by the Kimberley Land Council and the Kimberley Ranger Network. Both ranger groups have many other partners who assist with the work programs.
The rangers employ Ngarinyin men and women to look after country, and equip them with skills and training in Natural and Cultural Resource Management and whose job it is to help Traditional Owners manage their estates. This is achieved with the back-up of over many casual rangers, employed to help in land management activities. The rangers are using a combination of traditional cultural and environmental knowledge, western science and modern technologies to support Traditional Owners to protect threatened species and their habitats, manage fire, weeds and feral animals and look after cultural sites.
Many communities and families would like to set up ranger bases on their own country. Plans to expand the ranger program to other Wilinggin areas and communities and increase employment are underway.