Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research (DCBR) has recently returned from a field trip in the western Kimberley region studying the ‘Pindan’ vegetation and it’s response to fire. This region forms a transition between the more monsoonal forests to the north and the semi-arid desert to the south, and consists largely of low open woodland and Acacia shrublands. The Pindan vegetation type has been ineligible as a fuel type under the Savanna Burning methodologies; the trip was undertaken to fill gaps in the knowledge of the vegetation and its fuel components. A significant vegetation type in the far western region of the Kimberley, its inclusion in the methodology would improve the feasibility for potential Carbon Farming Initiative projects and allow Ranger groups to benefit from what they are already doing - actively carrying out strategic fire management to stop wildfire.
The DCBR team were assisted on-ground by the Kimberley Land Council and local Ranger groups including Karajarri, Nyul Nyul, Bardi Jawi and Nyikina Mangala. The Rangers easily managed some hot fires (for data collection purposes) for the DCBR research team who measured the fuel loads before and after fire to obtain an idea of the level of fuel consumption. Work was also undertaken on conservation land managed by the Yawuru Rangers, the ILC property Myroodah and also Napier Downs Station.
Traveling around the country it was great to see so many small early fires in an area where there is a history of frequent fire, often wildfires. Currently about 30% of the Kimberley is managed by Indigenous ranger groups who are benefiting from being registered as carbon projects or are working towards that end.