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Prescribed burns help prepare Pilbara for fire season

Ngurrawaana ranger Derek Ball and Parks and Wildlife officer Allen Clarke wet down a tree during a prescribed burn at Millstream Chichester National Park
Ngurrawaana ranger Derek Ball and Parks and Wildlife officer Allen Clarke wet down a tree during a prescribed burn at Millstream Chichester National Park Richard Reid, Parks and Wildlife

Prescribed burns designed to protect people travelling on well-used roads and key park infrastructure have recently been carried out in the Pilbara region by Department of Parks and Wildlife staff.

With the fire season set to start by October, Pilbara regional fire coordinator Richard Boykett said strategic burns in Karijini and Millstream Chichester national parks in late May and early June would provide protection to valuable public assets.

“Areas targeted include a buffer alongside Munjina Road and the Auski roadhouse, adjacent to Karijini National Park,” Mr Boykett said.

“Several areas in Millstream Chichester National Park were burnt to protect Parks and Wildlife and Water Corporation infrastructure, as well as the vegetation of the Fortescue River delta.”

Pilbara Parks and Wildlife staff were assisted with the prescribed burning program by experienced Perth-based fire management officers.

“The department’s Remote Regions Nature Conservation Program enables officers from Perth and the south-west to visit remote regions and provide support and invaluable guidance and mentoring to local staff,” Mr Boykett said.

Karratha-based Tim Hunt and Steve Breedveld were mentored by Richard Reid, from Perth Hills District, to gain experience in the operations officer role.

Mr Hunt said the opportunity to work with people experienced in the role was invaluable.

“As the prescribed burns took place alongside a major road this was both challenging and rewarding. It helped add to the skills I learned during the 2013-14 bushfire season.”

Mr Boykett said four rangers employed under the Ngurrawaana Ranger Program of the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation also assisted with the protection burns around Millstream Chichester National Park.

“Rangers Chet Woodley, Kingsley Woodley and Derek Ball recently completed Basic Wildfire Awareness training as part of their Certificate II program,” he said,

“The team learnt a great deal from both the training and implementing the burn program and they are looking forward to planning for, and implementing, their own prescribed burns around the Ngurrawaana community and lease area adjacent to Millstream Chichester National Park.”

Prescribed burning is the primary tool available to Parks and Wildlife to control the build-up of flammable fuel to mitigate the severity of bushfires.

To find out more about the department’s fire management and prescribed burning activities visit dpaw.wa.gov.au/management/fire

Media contact: Parks and Wildlife Media 9219 9999

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