Council, Butchulla rangers focus on K’gari bushfire prevention

THE Fraser Coast Regional Council and Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation are working together to improve bushfire preparedness and prevention on K’gari (Fraser Island).

Bushfire preparedness and prevention measures carried out on K’gari. PHOTO: Supplied.

Council and BAC employees have been working on a $22,600 Fire Management Trail at Orchid Beach for the past two weeks.

Fraser Coast Deputy Mayor Darren Everard said the project aimed to increase separation between houses and Council managed vegetation.

“It is integral that we do everything possible to ensure we are able to protect homes during a wildfire,” Cr Everard said.

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“The work that has been done was on incredibly steep and difficult to access areas. This means all clearing was done by hand without the assistance of heavy machinery. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with the traditional owners of K’gari on this important project,” he said.

BAC Chairperson Veronica Bird welcomed the opportunity to partner with Council to provide cultural guidance and support in preparation for the Orchid Beach fire break on K’gari. 

Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation Chairperson, Veronica Bird briefs the media on K’gari (Fraser Island) last week. PHOTO: File.

“These practices may include fire trail construction, fuel load monitoring and prescribed burns, which would also include traditional cool burns, which Butchulla Peoples refer to as ‘good fire’,” Ms Bird said.

“The BAC takes their cultural obligations to protect K’gari very seriously and believe strategic fire management trails are an important part of any Fire Management strategy. BAC have provided a team of Butchulla community rangers to participate in the Orchid Beach fire break, who have expertise and knowledge in Butchulla culture but also have a wealth of knowledge in land management practices,” she said. 

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Ms Bird said she believed everyone who loves K’gari would want to ensure the devastation from the 2020 wildfire never happens again.

“Partnerships like the one between Council and the BAC is certainly a step in the right direction,” she said.

Large swathes of the World Heritage-listed island were burnt by a bushfire that raged for weeks late last year.

The fire was sparked by an illegal campfire that was not properly extinguished in October.

It took around two months to douse the inferno.

The world’s largest sand island is a popular tourist destination for the region, but also a special and sacred place for the Butchulla community.

An information centre at Kingfisher Bay Resort was opened on the island last week.

The K’gari Heritage Discovery Centre is geared towards increasing visitor understanding, appreciation and conservation of the island.

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