Fortescue Fire Management

Fire has long been recognised as a major threat to biodiversity values, particularly impacts from large, intense bushfires. The Pilbara Corridors Project is working in partnership with the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) that has a management responsibility for fire on DPaW estate and a mitigation responsibility for fire on Unallocated Crown Land (UCL).

The fire management project will undertake coordinated fire planning and management in the Fortescue catchment with the following key activities:

  • Research current fire practices and history through workshops between DPaW, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES), Aboriginal groups and pastoralists.
  • Facilitate participation, planning and coordination of operations.
  • Support joint implementation of cross tenure programs through aerial and on-ground burning.
  • Trial an agreed methodology for remotely assessing (via satellite imagery) and ground-truthing burn success.
  • Establish monitoring methods and sites in representative landscapes for evaluation.

The project will also provide a working coordinated fire management plan for a significant part of the Fortescue catchment.

Karijini and Millstream-Chichester National parks both have approved Management Plans in place and DPaW is currently implementing a “Fire Strategy Paper” for each park and area of UCL. The initial goal is for each site to get a set of agreed values, assets and their respective risk. This may include fuel types (spinifex, crab hole grasses, mulga with bare earth, etc) and fuel loads (time since last fire). Potential methodologies and restrictions are then developed to allow for some ‘mid-term’ planning of fire management. There may be opportunities to adopt a similar methodology as a component of the ESRM plans on each pastoral station.