Fire management at Tableland

Fire management at Tableland

Wildfires – fires that occur in the late dry season, burning at high intensity across large areas – are a major threat to biodiversity in the Kimberley. If not managed, such fires can cover 1 million hectares. 

Fire management at Tableland involves prescribed burning in the early dry season (usually April-May) and, if required, fire suppression in the late dry (August – December). Prescribed burning is delivered by aerial incendiary operations – dropping incendiaries from helicopter – with supplementary ground burning operations, particularly around the Yulmbu community. 

Prescribed burning is intended to break-up country, creating a patchwork of fuel loads of different ages.  This limits the spread of any wildfires later in the year (they go out, or can be put out, when they reach country which was burnt in prescribed operations) and, importantly, ensures that the landscape contains patches of vegetation that is old growth (which many animals need for food and shelter).

AWC’s fire management at Tableland is implemented as part of the EcoFire project.  

Watch the video on EcoFire:

Under the Yulmbu Partnership Agreement, specific fire objectives have been set including: (a) reducing the proportion of each year’s firescars that is caused by late dry season fires to less than 50%; and (b) increasing the area of old growth vegetation to 25% of the property.

  • At Tableland, over 290 kilometres were flown and over 2,000 incendiaries dropped. 
  • AWC has reduced the extent of late season fire scars Tableland from 98% to 56% (2012).
  • AWC has increased the proportion of the property that is “long unburnt” vegetation from 19% to 31%.  
Figure Areas Of Long Unburnt Vegetation On Tableland At 2006 Figure Areas Of Tableland At The End Of 2012 Following Six Years Of Ecofire
 

Areas of long-unburnt vegetation on Tableland at 2006 and at the end of 2012 following six years of EcoFire