For the very first time, Coffs Harbour City
Council has joined forces with specially trained Aboriginal fire-fighters to
conduct a cultural burn to improve habitat around the Regional Airport.
A team of female Aboriginal fire-fighters
from Coffs Harbour and the Minyumai Indigenous Protected Area further north
undertook the burn as part of a Hazard Reduction exercise.
The burn extended across around 12 hectares
of Coastal Wallum Heathland on the southern end of the airport runway and
involved fire-fighters from several local Rural Fire Service brigades, Council
staff and a team from the Nature Conservation Council.
Coffs Harbour Local Aboriginal Land
Council’s Darrunda Wajaarr team had previously established monitoring plots
across the site and will now return to assess the response of the vegetation to
the burn over the coming year.
The coming months should see a flush of new
growth throughout the site, as well as an abundance of wildflowers as the weather
This will benefit many nectar-feeding birds
and insects leading to an increase in breeding as the vegetation recovers. Smaller mammals such as the New Holland Mouse
will also peak in abundance in the first few years after the fire as the new
growth will give it the shelter and food it needs to thrive.
Members of the Darrunda Wajaarr team will
learn valuable vegetation monitoring skills over the next few months and will
undertake ongoing post-burn weed control at the site through funding from the
North Coast Local Land Services (NCLLS) Jaliigirr Project.
It is also an opportunity to help develop
the skills of local Aboriginal youth and build important partnerships between
Coffs Harbour City Council, the Rural Fire Service and the local Aboriginal
Jaliigirr Project is supported by the NCLLS through funding from the Australian