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Wunambal Gaambera conduct annual fire walk

Jeremy Kowan lights a fire during Wunambal Gaambera's annual fire walk

Wunambal Gaambera's Healthy Country team recently returned from their annual fire walk. Wunambal Gaambera people have been using traditional fire management practices to keep country healthy for thousands of years.

Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation’s (WGAC) Right Way Fire program has been the cornerstone operational tool in implementing their award winning Healthy Country Plan, with the principle objective to reduce the impact of hot, late dry season wildfires which damage country, harm wildlife, their habitats and pose potential threats to cultural sites and infrastructure.

Fire walks are an important time for us to connect and access our remote country.
It was Collier Bundamarra’s first time doing a fire walk. Collier is a Wunambal man from his grandfather’s side. His grandfather walked the same country several years ago. Collier, explains what he got out of the fire walk;

“It was pretty hard, the one week walk but once you settle into the bush it’s alright.
We were following the King Edward River. We had fun. We went fishing, caught bream…. It feels like home, I belong out here. I feel more confident.”

Jeremy Kowan, Traditional Owner and Uunguu Ranger;

“We burn slow, slow, slow to stop all that hot fire rushing, so it burns all over the countryside.
We burn around the art sites to keep the grass lower…. Fire can destroy art sites, crack all the painting in the rocks.
Burning is good for the animals. One big area will be cleaned up by fire and we start to see that new growth and animals come back to that area to eat the new vegetation.”

“Take notice of the animals. If they are living healthy, you know the country is healthy. Just by looking at animals, like emu and kangaroos, if they are strong and healthy, we know the country is healthy.”

Articles and Photos contributed by Wunambal Gaambera/Uunguu Life and Mark Jones.
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