Sustainable Fire Management for the Kimberley Region of Western Australia - Report of the Kimberley Regional Fire Management Project Natural ...

Sustainable Fire Management for the Kimberley
          Region of Western Australia

Report of the Kimberley Regional Fire Management

   (Natural Heritage Trust project no. 013005E)

Executive Summary


   Volume 1


   Executive Summary

   Appendix 1 - Outcomes and Recommendations

   Appendix 2 - Contributors to Stage 1

   Volume 2

   Chapter 1       Bushfires and Burning – Aspects of Aboriginal Knowledge and Practice

                         of the Kimberley

   Chapter 2        Pastoral Property Fire Management Practices and Kimberley Grasslands Curing

   Chapter 3       Biodiversity Conservation

   Chapter 4        A Preliminary Economic Assessment of Fire management in the Kimberley

   Chapter 5       Communications, Publicity and Publications

   Chapter 6       Remote Sensing & GIS

                                       Department of Land Information
                                       Fire and Emergency Services Authority


                     District           Our Land, Our
                     Committee          Business

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   The Kimberley Regional Fire Management Project (KRFMP) came to fruition in mid-2000,
   thanks to the guiding commitment of a consortium of key community and agency

   KAPA—Kimberley Aboriginal Pastoralists Association
   the four Kimberley LCDCs—Land Conservation District Committees
   the four Kimberley Shires (Broome, Derby-West Kimberley, Halls Creek, Wyndham-East
   KLC—Kimberley Land Council
   PGA—Pastoralists & Graziers Association of WA
   TSCRC—Tropical Savannas Cooperative Research Centre
   Western Australia Government Agencies—
   DAWA—Department of Agriculture WA
   CALM—Department of Conservation & Land Management
   DLI—Department of Land Information
   FESA—Fire & Emergency Services Authority

   together with the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT), to collectively find better ways to address
   serious fire management issues affecting all sectors of the Kimberley community, and the
   ecological integrity of the country itself. As summarised in the original proposal, the specific
   objectives of the KRFMP during its first proposed three year phase were as follows—

           “This community-directed project will demonstrate new approaches to fire management in the
           Kimberley region suited to the needs of different land use sectors. The project has four inter-linked
           components: firstly, the development of improved fire management practices at property level for
           pastoral, Aboriginal and conservation tenures in at least two districts. Secondly, the project will
           assist Aboriginal communities to document elders’ traditional knowledge relating to landscape fire.
           Thirdly, we seek to improve the accuracy and utility of remote sensing products relevant to fire
           management. Finally, the project will focus on skills development and communicating fire
           management information to land managers and the wider community.”

    As it happens the first phase of the project was funded for only two years and, as this report
    amply documents, much was achieved in that time. Today, building on that base, the
    KRFMP continues to develop and communicate its community-focused program, still with
    strong support from its original community and agency partners and the NHT. After all,
    addressing chronic fire management problems at the vast landscape scales of the Kimberley,
    with its sparse, culturally diverse population, the limited, mostly pastorally-focused
    infrastructure, the scant economic opportunities especially for indigenous youth, and, just as
    important, remoteness from the political gaze (some might say, enduring interest) of
    Perth...collectively does require tenacity and long-term commitment. Sustainable fire
    management in the Kimberley is not simply about managing fires! Building community
    capacity, through information transfer, skills development, job creation, promoting cross-
    cultural and –sectoral understanding and benefits, etc., is fundamental also.
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   Importantly, the success of the project has been achieved despite, at times, difficult
   circumstances to contend with—personal adversity, ever-changing NHT funding
   arrangements, consuming issues of a political dimension. It has not always been easy. One
   should not forget that the KRFMP was a creation of the Kimberley political landscape—and
   some core institutional members otherwise still find need to communicate in court. For
   such reasons especially, I pay tribute to the commitment of extremely capable project staff,
   and the generous guidance and understanding of management and technical committee
   members. Indeed, as mentioned elsewhere in this report, the KRFMP continues to provide
   an excellent example of how a complex community project can be cooperatively

   Jeremy Russell - Smith

   KRFMP Management Committee
   December 2004

   Be Advised
   This report may contain images of Aboriginal people who have died since the time of it’s
   production, it should therefore be used with caution by people from the communities who
   contributed to this report.

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   Executive Summary

   The Kimberley Regional Fire Management Project (KRFMP) commenced operation in mid-
   2000 with the aim of addressing significant fire management problems in the vast Kimberley
   region of Western Australia, particularly:

       ƒ   strategic fire management - especially the control of extensive and intense late dry
           season wildfires;
       ƒ   sustainability of pastoral systems - especially retention of perennial grass cover and
           control of woody weeds;
       ƒ   conservation of significant habitats and associated flora and fauna - especially
           associated with rainforest patches and vast, remote sandstone areas;
       ƒ   the limited human, information and material infrastructure resources available in the
           Region to undertake effective, conservative fire management.

   This report documents the activities undertaken by KRFMP over the ensuing 26 months, until
   the end of February 2003, with funding provided by the Natural Heritage Trust.

   As stated in the original application, the longer-term aims of the project were to:

       ƒ   promote the ongoing development and refinement of informed, conservative fire
           management practice especially through the implementation of preventative early dry
           season burning (or other fuel reduction techniques) as a means to better control the
           currently extensive, intense, destructive, late dry season wildfires;
       ƒ   use the information assembled as part of the (Kimberley Regional Fire Management
           Project) to assist the development of regional and property-scale best-practice
           guidelines for lands managed under different land-use objectives;
       ƒ   involve the regional community effectively in the implementation of the program.

  These broad objectives were to be addressed through the implementation of eight focused actions
  as outlined in the original proposal. Progress made against each of those required actions is
  summarised below:

(i) Formation of community-based management committee charged with responsibility for
overseeing and implementing the proposed program, for developing management tools and
informing the regional community of options for best management practice on all land
tenure types, and developing an ongoing strategy for fire management in the Kimberley

A Management Committee was established prior to the commencement of the project and was
subsequently incorporated so as to be eligible to receive NHT and other funding. During the period
covered by this report, the Management Committee consisted of 10 representatives of pastoral,
Indigenous, and other land use and fire management interests, including State agencies and local

Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) ▪ Kimberley Land Council (KLC) ▪
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Kimberley Aboriginal Pastoralists Association (KAPA) ▪ Country Shires Association ▪ Fire and
Emergency Services Authority       (FESA) ▪ Department Conservation and Land Management
(CALM) ▪ Cooperative Research Centre – Tropical Savannas Management ▪ Kimberley Landcare
District Committees.

The Management Committee also had an independent Chair, a person “who in the opinion of a
majority of the other members is capable of representing the broad community interests of the
Kimberley Region”.

 The Management Committee met together formally on six occasions and by teleconference a
further 15 times (effectively a meeting or teleconference every 1.2 months).

The Management Committee was supported by a Technical Committee which included, in addition
to many of the above organisations, representatives of the WA Department of Agriculture and the
Department of Land Administration (now Department of Land Information).

The main body of this report addresses the remaining 7 actions as follows.

(ii) Undertake thorough documentation of best fire management practice for sustainable
pastoralism, biodiversity conservation, traditional Aboriginal approaches, and broad
community issues and aspirations

These issues were canvassed in a number of activities undertaken by KRFMP. Specific projects
were undertaken to document contemporary pastoral and indigenous fire management practices.
Assessment of current pastoral fire management practices was undertaken firstly via an in-depth
survey of 16 owner/managers (15% of Kimberly pastoral leases), including family, indigenous, and
company enterprises. Interim best management practice pastoral guidelines, developed by KRFMP
Technical Committee member Andrew Craig (Department of Agriculture WA, Kununurra), are
included here as an attachment. Secondly, a detailed assessment of the effectiveness of the 2002
aerial control burning (ACB) program conducted on behalf of property managers by Fire and
Emergency Services Authority (FESA) was undertaken. Using the flight lines recorded with GPS
technology, the effectiveness of the ACB program was assessed with reference to resultant fires,
mapped from Landsat satellite “quick-look” images available freely on the Australian Centre for
Remote Sensing (ACRES) web-site. The effectiveness of ACB’sin restricting other later season fries
was also assessed.

Indigenous knowledge and practices were documented during targeted educational and participatory
planning exercises in a number of regional Indigenous communities. No assessment of best
practice fire management for biodiversity outcomes was undertaken by the project as these have
recently been addressed through the publication, Savanna burning: understanding and using fire in northern
Australia, published by the Tropical Savannas Cooperative Research Centre (TSCRC) and funded
substantially by the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT). However, a relatively detailed assessment of
impacts of contemporary fire regimes on regional biodiversity, fauna especially, was undertaken by
KRFMP; this is commented on more fully under below.

Major findings of the pastoral survey included: (a) other than some use of ACB operations (see
below), relatively little preventative early dry season burning is undertaken on most pastoral
properties; (b) substantial costs are incurred annually to fight wildfires; (c) besides limited resources
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of time and equipment, respondents overwhelmingly identified the need for ongoing education and
awareness in dealing with fire management issues in the Kimberley.

The ACB assessment found that, of 7300 km of flight lines flown by (FESA) on behalf of property
owners between 15th March and 9th May 2002, over half this length produced fires which could
be readily mapped from Landsat Quicklooks. Continuity of ignited fire-line was generally low. The
median fire size ignited from ACB was 2.92 km2; the largest being 1,721 km2. Over 72% of
successfully ignited ACB fire lines assisted in the reduction or spread of wildfires later in the season.
On the basis of this assessment, and other information obtained through the pastoral survey, it is
proposed to extend the assessment of ACB effectiveness in stage 2 of the project, particularly with
respect to specific properties where ACB operations are undertaken through the year.

Major findings of the indigenous knowledge project included: (a) that the level of knowledge and
understanding of traditional fire practice varied widely amongst participants; (b) people tended to be
cautious about burning, being very aware of broader community sentiment, legal threats and fines;
and (c) while traditional systems of fire management have largely been subsumed over the past 100
years by the needs of the cattle industry, there remains general recognition of the importance of
customary rights, prohibitions and responsibilities concerning burning country, including the
primacy of the rights of traditional owners on their own country. A major practical finding of the
project has been identification of the need to involve younger indigenous people in fire and land
management programs. This has been translated into the development of a project involving ‘fire
control teams’, now being established in two remote communities as part of the second stage of
KRFMP, now funded through NHT.

(iii)     Assess the accuracy of current NOAA-AVHRR satellite fire monitoring in the
region as undertaken by the Remote Sensing Section of the Department of Land
Information (DLI), as a means for improving the reliability of such information for use by
land managers. Develop a detailed recent fire history of the region as a basis for fire
management planning. Improve systems for the dissemination of these data to end-users.

Fire mapping information for the Kimberley using the coarse-resolution AVHRR sensor extends
back to 1993. This mapping is undertaken by DLI in Perth, as part of a national fire mapping
program. An accuracy assessment of fire mapping was undertaken in 2001. Mapping reliability was
shown to generally represent the distribution of both early and late dry season fires at a regional
scale, although many fires were missed, and many others falsely recorded. While such findings are
not new, it illustrates the issues that: (a) such products need to be cautiously interpreted on a
property or paddock scale; and (b) there is thus an associated need to assist land managers to
interpret and use such products for their own management.

A related activity involved the distribution of daily ‘hot spot’ (fire occurrence) data to interested
properties throughout the region through a fax-out service (Firefax) provided by DLI. By August
2002, 45 properties were receiving Firefax, with the locations of hot spots and property boundaries
superimposed on a topographic map background. From a survey conducted late in 2002 it was
found that the great majority of managers found Firefax useful, although it is evident that in the
future the service should increasingly become email based given the rapid take-up of Broadband
internet access available through Telstra. Given the interest shown generally by the Kimberley
community in fire mapping products, a major focus of KRFMP stage 2 will be to: (a) further
develop the dissemination of Firefax and related products; and (b) provide direct technical
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assistance to property managers and communities to help them download and interpret (with GIS),
digital fire mapping and related products.

(iv) Assess the practicability and applicability of current state legislation and regulations to
fire management requirements in the Kimberley

While the Management Committee recognises the need for undertaking such assessment, especially
given that the Western Australian Bushfires Act 1954 and the administrative and regulatory
arrangements it sets out is overdue for a major overhaul, it was not feasible to pursue this to any
significant extent through this phase of the KRFMP. It is proposed, however, that a sub-committee
be formed early in the life of the ongoing project to develop a position paper representing the
particular needs of the Kimberley community (and probably Pilbara also) — see also comments
under (vii) below.

(v) Demonstration and documentation of property-based, cooperative approaches to fire
management in at least two local areas in the Kimberley, in high and low rainfall zones

Through pastoral interviews and on ground biodiversity work across a range of tenures, approaches
to fire management were documented. Issues investigated included:

       ƒ   Past and present fire management practices – how fire management at the property
           level has been undertaken and any significant changes in practice over time;
       ƒ   Reasons for burning – time of year, equipment used;
       ƒ   Fire management at the property level and with neighbours – ways to make fire
           management more effective, and ideas on how to strengthen communication with
           neighbours if necessary

There have been major changes to the pastoral industry during the past 50 years. A profound one is
that fewer staff, particularly Aboriginal people, are employed on pastoral leases. As a consequence,
aerial mustering has largely replaced mustering on horseback, and ACB has become the main tool
for early dry season burning. These contemporary pastoral and fire management techniques have
possibly contributed to a greater economic return for the pastoral industry but have not necessarily
improved environmental sustainability. Analyses of the interaction among environmental, social and
economic factors associated with fire management offer a major challenge.

Cooperation and communication was considered important by everyone interviewed, and there was
a range of suggestions on how this could be improved including:

       ƒ   Better coordination and working together between managers and neighbouring
       ƒ   Regular sub-regional meetings between neighbouring stations to discuss fire

(vi) Assessment of the rates of biomass/fuel accumulation for different pasture/fuel
types, curing rates of different species, and associated development of automated satellite-
based monitoring
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In the Sturt Plateau and Victoria River Districts of the Northern Territory (NT), a photo based
grasslands fuel guide was produced via NHT funds in 2001. The grasslands fuel guide is seen as a
practical way to assist land managers estimate fuel characteristics for strategic fire management and
wildfire prevention. The KRFMP has produced a similar publication based on the NT methodology
using four main habitat types in the Kimberley. The Kimberley curing rate work has demonstrated
that there is a small window of opportunity for safe and effective hazard reduction burning generally
between April through to May. The Kimberley Grasslands Curing Field Guide will assist land managers
and various government agencies in strategic early dry season fire management. The work was done
collaboratively between KRFMP the Department of Agriculture and FESA.

(vii) Assessment of the ecological effects of burning on regional communities and species

Wildlife surveys (vertebrates and invertebrates) were undertaken in four major habitat types in the
Kimberley over two field seasons. Results from this work have demonstrated that fauna remains
reasonably intact only in the rugged sandstone areas, where some mammal species known to be
vulnerable elsewhere in northern Australia were found. Fires tend to be patchy in the sandstone
country due to the rocky and dissected topography. This can promote different burn ages of
vegetation, necessary for the survival of some Australian mammal species. Even so, the long-term
sustainability of biodiversity for the sandstone areas would appear to be compromised because this
area is regularly affected by large hot dry season fires. The fire history, particularly for the sandstone
areas, demonstrates that fires burn over a large area and mainly during the hot late dry season. These
late dry season fires, left unmanaged, could have potentially serious consequences for small to
medium size mammals and obligate seeder plant species.

The invertebrate component of the project has yielded very many ant species that are new to
science, and more generally has made a highly significant contribution to our understanding of the
systematics and biogeography of Australian ants.

We suggest that, in order to maintain high fauna richness particularly for some mammals, fire
frequency and the spatial extent of fires will need to be reduced considerably below what currently
exists: the current regime is reducing structural diversity and important food and habitat resources.

(viii) Provide an economic assessment of different fire management options, including
issues concerning long-term sustainability of pastoral resources (e.g. perennial grasses;
woody regrowth control) and biodiversity

Given that an economic resource assessment of issues concerning long-term sustainability of pastoral resources
has been undertaken recently through the partly NHT-funded project, Sustainable fire management for
the Sturt Plateau and Victoria River District, NT 1 , it was not considered appropriate to repeat that work
here, especially given the substantial data and modelling resource requirements involved. Rather, an
economic consultant with considerable experience in the Kimberley was engaged to examine the
social and economic policy context of regional fire management for the purposes of ‘encouraging an
understanding of interrelationships which exists between social, environmental, economic and
political issues’.

    1Dyer R, Stafford Smith M. 2003. Fire and pastoral management: models and tradeoffs. International Journal of
    Wildland Fire, in review.
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Major recommendations of that broader economic assessment include the need for: (a) assessing the
cost-effectiveness of current public sector expenditures on fire management; (b) contributing to the
current review of pastoral leasehold in Western Australia; (c) contributing to Western Australian
Sustainable Development Strategy, and assessment of Western Australian Bushfires Act 1954; (d)
involving Indigenous land owners, particularly young people; and (e) exploring emerging economic
opportunities created through reducing greenhouse emissions from savanna fires, woody
sequestration (i.e. storage of carbon in woody vegetation), and carbon trading.

The main body of this report details the work undertaken, results and recommendations arising
from each of the eight component activities above. Recommendations and overall project
outcomes, together with specific actions proposed by the Management Committee, are given in
Appendix 1.

Finally, we note that the community partnership assembled here to provide oversight of the
KRFMP has provided an excellent example of how regionally based projects can be cooperatively
managed. Both Management and Technical Committees have demonstrated how people from
diverse backgrounds, and with diverse social, economic and cultural interests, can work together
effectively. See Appendix 2 for committee contributors.

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   1. Indigenous land management and fire practice

   1.1     Outcome/ Recommendation
   KRFMP will establish and support Aboriginal fire management teams devoted to specific land
   areas and guide the operation of these teams so as to combine traditionally derived and scientific
   information. KRFMP will support collaboration of teams with both knowledgeable senior
   people and relevant agencies and will encourage people to identify the relations between burning
   and resource management.

   Specific Action Required
   KRFMP#2 Business Plan will address availability and deployment of the project’s human and
   financial resources to implement this recommendation.

   1.2     Outcome/ Recommendation
   KRFMP will seek opportunities to record further, detailed information on Aboriginal burning
   practice for specific land areas (smaller than subregional scale) preferably in the context of the
   on-ground burning by Fire Management Teams rather than by a purely research based project.

   Specific Action Required
   Refer to Project personnel charged with design and delivery of Fire Management Teams in
   KRFMP#2 Business Plan.

   1.3    Outcome/ Recommendation
   KRFMP will consult and where possible, actively involve Aboriginal people and neighbouring
   landholders in developing burn strategies on lands they own or have an interest in. This could
   be through action planning and review workshops where scientific and Aboriginal information
   is exchanged and a burn program for the forthcoming year is planned using appropriate
   combinations of foot, vehicle and aerial techniques.
   In other respects, KRFMP and Project partners will support appropriate on-ground fire
   management by Aboriginal land holders (in addition to fire management teams).

   Specific Action Required
   Project partners who represent Indigenous landholders to advise on suitable opportunities and
   resource requirements in order for promote these activities.

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   1.4       Outcome/ Recommendation
   Encourage the fire management teams to develop burn strategies related to Aboriginal plant and
   animal resources (including bush foods), sites and other cultural resources as well as endangered
   and high priority wildlife species.

   Specific Action Required
   Refer to Project personnel charged with design and delivery of Fire Management Teams in
   KRFMP#2 Business Plan.

   1.5    Outcome/ Recommendation
   Promote the fire management controls or laws that operated under traditional Aboriginal
   systems, many of which apply in the present.

   Specific Action Required
   Refer to Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre in the first instance. Address resource
   requirements in KRFMP#2 Business Plan.

   1.6 Outcome/ Recommendation
   KRFMP, and where appropriate, individual Project partners will explain and promote fire
   management tools including fire fax, wildfire warnings on radio, web based fire danger info and
   others to Aboriginal land holders & their agencies. Adapt these so suitable for Aboriginal land
   holders and users e.g. use BRACS radio.
   When an extreme wildfire season is anticipated, present relevant information to the full council
   of KLC to inform people of the threats several months beforehand.

   Specific Action Required
   Refer to Project personnel charged with design and delivery of Fire Management Teams for
   inclusion in training activities. FESA and KLC to confer on arrangements for required briefings
   to KLC Executive and report to Management Committee.

   1.7 Outcome/ Recommendation
   KRFMP and Project partners will support relevant collaborative research projects to record and
   apply Aboriginal knowledge and practice and will specifically encourage research on the

   What are the present day burning and related land uses practices of Aboriginal people,
   particularly younger men?

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   Where are people patch burning? How can they be supported to continue or adapt as necessary
   their practices?

   What are the details of contemporary and traditional knowledge underpinning burning on
   specific land areas?

   What current patterns of burning on Aboriginal-owned lands (including pastoral leases)
   compared to non-Aboriginal owned lands; identify patterns using satellite imagery, aerial
   photograph interpretation and interviews?

   What is the relation between spatial ignition patterns and road networks? Can road networks be
   better used as ignition sites and to break up large tracts of land?

   What is the role of Aboriginal people compared to other land user groups and natural causes in
   fire ignition?

   What options are available to sustain fire management teams beyond the life of the KRFMP?
   What support can be given to Aboriginal landholders to implement appropriate burn regimes
   (separate from the fire management teams)?

   Are education and publicity materials effective in changing burning and related land use
   practices? For which user groups? In what formats?

   Specific Action Required
   Project Technical Committee will convene to confer on options to encourage interest in and
   support for ongoing research into the key issues and report to Management Committee by 31
   December 2003.

   2. Pastoral lands management

   2.1     Outcome/ Recommendation
   FESA will produce a position paper, taking into account the findings of KRFMP#1, as the basis
   upon which to undertake further assessment of the effectiveness of Aerial Control Burning
   operations in the Kimberley region and in order to guide the Management Committee in
   formulating the 2004/05 research program.

   Specific Action Required
   FESA to provide discussion paper by 31 March 2004.

   2.2     Recommendation/ Outcome
   Project partners will use their contact with clients and constituents to raise awareness about legal
   and technical issues associated with Aerial Control Burning.

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   Specific Action Required

   Project partners that directly represent landholder interests will liaise with FESA on the timing
   and content of presentations/other communications to clients or constituents and report on
   outcomes to KRFMP Management Committee by 31 December 2003.

   2.3     Outcome/ Recommendation
   Project partners endorse the conclusions concerning fire and pasture management contained in
   Draft Preliminary Guidelines for Kimberley Pastoral Properties prepared by WA Department of
   Agriculture (Andrew Craig) and urge that the Guidelines be released to Kimberley pastoral

   Specific Action Required
   In consultation with all Project partners, Project personnel will engage with WA Department of
   Agriculture regarding the funding and organisation of a series of sub-regional workshops to
   assist leaseholders to develop preliminary property level fire management plans, where
   appropriate incorporating the Craig guidelines. Such workshops should also be the opportunity
   to foster cooperation between neighbouring land holders in fire management planning,
   including preventative burning programs. Partnership with Department of Agriculture in the
   development and funding of a workshop program will be reflected in KRFMP#2 Business Plan
   but agreement will be sought by 31 March 2004.

   2.4   Outcome/ Recommendation
   KRFMP will advocate greater uptake of information technology, including GIS, in property
   management in the Kimberley and will seek opportunities for this to be given practical effect.

   Specific Action Required
   As a first step, and subject to further consultation with DLI, the KRFMP#2 Business Plan will
   address availability and deployment of Project human and financial resources to provide training
   to Kimberley land managers in Arc Explorer for accessing digital mapping products to enhance
   property-level fire management.

   2.5     Outcome/ Recommendation
   Project partners advocate the need for demonstration trials or participatory research to promote
   discussion and dissemination of information about the extent and use of fire in pasture and
   vegetation management (e.g. reported woody thickening, pindan thinning, and shift from
   perennials to annuals).

   Specific Action Required
   In consultation with all Project partners, Project personnel to discuss with Department
   Agriculture and incorporate into KRFMP#2 Business Plan with view to agreement by 31st
   March 2004.

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   2.6     Outcome/ Recommendation
   Project partners will promote regional and community involvement in the review of the WA
   Bushfires Act which is to take place in 2004. KRFMP will promote consideration of customary
   law principles into the amended Act.

   Specific Action Required
   Project partners that directly represent landholder interests will liaise with FESA on the
   timing and content of presentations/other communications to clients or constituents and
   report on outcomes to KRFMP Management Committee.

   KRFMP will liaise with Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre in the first instance
   on the issue of the inclusion of reference to customary law in Bushfires Act.

   3. Biodiversity

   3.1    Outcome/ Recommendation
   Long-term financial support will be sought in order for KRFMP to continue to:

   investigate links between long term fire regimes and biodiversity indicators on different
   land types.         These indicators could include critical weight range mammals,
   invertebrate & other fauna phyla and vegetation species such as cypress Pine. Land
   types could include sandstone, rainforest and broader land areas
   identify best practice management options for fauna and vegetation based on
   bioregional assessment develop appropriate fire management guidelines to maintain
   biodiversity and landscape health
   recommend appropriate fire regimes to maintain biodiversity and landscape health
   analyse further and report on the large body of ecological data collected by KRFMP #1.

   Specific Action Required
   Continuation of biodiversity program will be incorporated into KRFMP#2 Business Plan.
   Project partners will recognise this outcome in formulation of the 2004/05 research program.

  4. Economic Assessment

   4.1      Outcome/Recommendation
   Clarify the process of agenda setting for the West Australian Sustainable Development Strategy,
   and determine whether a submission on Kimberley fire management is a priority.

   4.2     Outcome/Recommendation
   Develop a project to assess the effectiveness of current public sector fire management activities
   in the Kimberley. The project should be undertaken as a participatory project with public and
   private sector land managers, and should build on the work already undertaken by the KRFMP.
   The project would need to assess the range of land management objectives with respect to fire
   (biodiversity maintenance, prevention and industry protection, etc), the achievement of those
   objectives, expenditures in relation to those objectives, and make recommendations for change
   where necessary.

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   4.3      Outcome/ Recommendation
   Consider prioritising participation in the review of the West Australian Bushfires Act 1954. If it
   is determined to be a priority develop a strategy for participation which includes obtaining funds
   and appropriate personnel.

   4.4      Outcome/Recommendation
   In developing and prioritising fire management strategies in the Kimberley, consideration needs
   to be made of the optimal use of country taking into account economic, social and
   environmental values. Where the pastoral industry is marginal consideration should be given to
   prioritising other land use values.

   4.5      Outcome/ Recommendation
   Land management strategies focused around fire must actively include Indigenous land owners
   and managers, particularly young people, with the re-establishment of on ground fire
   management skills through skills development and training programs. Strategies must clarify and
   resource the institutional and other structures required to enable Indigenous people to meet
   their land management responsibilities.

   4.6      Outcome/Recommendation
   Research is required to assess the implications of current tenure arrangements in the Kimberley
   and to design new systems for the effective management of fire. Consideration should be given
   to land tenure mechanisms as a means to secure Indigenous rights, provide for multiple uses
   (including tourism), and stipulate land management responsibilities.

   4.7    Outcome/ Recommendation
   Kimberley land management strategies need to be informed by sound scientific advice about the
   opportunities effective fire management presents for reducing Australian greenhouse gas
   emissions. If the opportunities are favourable this advice then needs to be analysed by land
   managers environmental economists and land use planners to determine whether investment in
   carbon sequestration projects can effectively be undertaken in the Kimberley.

   Specific Action Required
   Economic assessment report by consultant Cath Elderton will be referred to a sub committee of
   the KRFMP Management and Technical Committees in order to consider how to deal with
   public policy issues arising from fire management in the Kimberley, including the effectiveness
   of current public sector fire management activities, the implications of current land tenure and
   whether investment in carbon sequestration projects can effectively be undertaken in the
   Kimberley. Sub Committee will report to Management Committee by 31 March 2004.

   5. Communications

   5.1      Outcome/Recommendation
   Project partners will ensure that the communications materials developed by KRFMP during the
   period 2001-2003 continue to be used for community education and information purposes, as
   long as the Management Committee deems them relevant and effective.

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   Specific Actions Required
   Project partners will review and report to Management Committee by 31 December 2003 on
   measures to be adopted by them to implement this recommendation.

   KRFMP#2 Business Plan will address the availability and deployment of Project human and
   financial resources to give effect to this recommendation.

   5.2     Outcome/ Recommendation
   Project partners will support the ongoing development and production of education and
   information resources - by KRFMP and/or individual Project partners - that are tailored to
   the needs of discrete community sectors. Further materials should be developed to meet
   the information needs of community and regional schools, land managers across the major
   land use sectors (conservation, pastoral, Indigenous, military, mining [particularly mineral
   exploration]), tourism and recreation.

   Specific Actions Required
   Project partners will review and report to Management Committee on measures to be
   adopted by them to implement this recommendation by 31 December 2003.

   KRFMP#2 Business Plan will address availability and deployment of Project human and
   financial resources to implement this recommendation.

   5.3     Outcome/ Recommendation
   Production and distribution of public education and information materials should conform
   to the following guidelines: materials produced should be photo based, in plain English,
   clear, and succinct; materials produced should be distributed so as to reflect the diversity of
   public places in which people congregate; posters and public messages should use images of
   the natural resources that both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people value e.g. green trees,
   shade trees, cattle pasture, landscape views, and the effects of uncontrolled bushfires on
   these resources.
   KRFMP will continue to prepare attractively presented, accessible information about fire
   regimes for Aboriginal people and organisations as A3 books, video and posters. Focus these
   on the effects of fire on plants and animals that are important to people, especially bush
   The State agencies, representative landholder groups and NGOs associated with KRFMP
   should also commit to communicate fire education and information messages in succinct,
   clear images and in plain English.

   Specific Action Required
   Project partners to note; KRFMP#2 Business Plan provisions to reflect this recommendation.

   5.4 Outcome/ Recommendation
   (Especially where Indigenous community members have contributed to the production of
   communications materials), KRFMP should ensure that approval is obtained for the use of
   quotes, artwork and photographs of individuals in order both to allow informants to check their
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   contributed material and to understand the context in which material is to be used. Adequate
   time for the approval process must be allowed.

   Specific Action Required
   KRFMP#2 Business Plan will specify protocols for clearance of communication materials.

   5.5    Outcome/ Recommendation
   If information is obtained from further research into the human causes of destructive and/or
   unmanaged fire ignition, effort should be directed into producing effective communication
   materials to address such causes directly.
   Specific Action Required
   Project partners to note in the context of setting research program for KRFMP#2 in 2004/05
   and the implementation of Recommendations 1.1 – 1.4.

   5.6    Outcome/ Recommendation
   A package of materials appropriate for use in all Kimberley schools based upon work
   undertaken by the Project 2001-2003 should be developed to supplement the FESA ‘Fire Inside
   Out’ materials.
   Such package should incorporate information concerning Aboriginal knowledge relevant to fire
   and burning.
   Specific Action Required
   KRFMP Project personnel to negotiate with FESA on implementation; implementation
   timetable to be incorporated into KRFMP#2 Business Plan.

   5.7     Outcome/ Recommendation
   In recognition of the limited resources available to KRFMP in the immediate future to develop
   and distribute both new communication materials, KRFMP should seek appropriate
   sponsorship and special purpose funding for these purposes.
   Specific Action Required
   KRFMP partners to advise by 31 December 2003 on support available (direct and on scope for
   using partners’ ‘good offices’ to pursue sponsorship and funding for these purposes).

   5.8    Outcome/ Recommendation
   Materials produced by KRFMP should be appropriately archived; options for archiving of
   material include one of the partner agencies or the Kimberley Archive (under development).

   Specific Action Required
   Archiving of Project materials to be addressed in KRFMP #2 Business Plan.

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   6. Remote sensing and Geographic information Systems

   6.1      Outcome/ Recommendation
   A ‘level of confidence’ should be published for the DLI FAA maps yearly. This would entail the
   repetition of this validation process although the process should be standardized and simplified
   for future research. Knowing the level of confidence would help highlight areas unsuitable for
   current mapping methods, ensure that accuracy increases over time and enable the mapping to
   be compared to mapping done by other organisations. Such comparison between organisations
   is important in order to enable techniques to be shared so as to arrive at the most accurate

   Specific Action Required
   Project personnel refer to DPI and Technical Committee and report to Management Committee
   on outcomes.

   6.2      Outcome/Recommendation
   The effectiveness of ACB needs to be assessed yearly to gain insight into why some ACB are
   successful while others are not. The methods for this yearly assessment need to be
   standardized to ensure that the results are descriptive of the situation on the ground. The
   results from the yearly assessment need to be considered when planning the ACB program
   of the following year.
   Simplify & standardize system to assess ACB. Conduct on-going assessments of ACB (i.e.
   throughout year not only annually) & discuss results with land holders. Use assessment
   results & feedback to modify ACB. Use results to plan ACB program for the following year.

   6.3 Outcome/Recommendation
   In relation to FireFax: KRFMP will continue to support and promote the availability of the
   service through DLI.

   Specific Action Required
   Project personnel will contact pastoral lessees/managers and remote community
   administrators to encourage subscription to the service. KRFMP personnel will provide
   ‘after sales service’ in the form of assistance to use the service, and will advise subscribers on
   changes or disruptions to the service.
   Promotion of the service should be continued through the Department of Agriculture –
   Pastoral Memo, LCDC meetings, the Kimberley Land Council, KAPA and via the internet
   to stations who have access.
   The possibility of converting the service to a GIS format will be explored with DLI-SRSS ,
   to allow for distribution of fire data as GIS files suitable for viewing in ArcExplorer. This
   system would be suitable for managers and communities throughout the Kimberley who are
   computer literate. The advantage of this system is land managers can compare current to
   previous fire locations and movements. Fire scar data could be emailed to registered
   managers or downloaded from the DL1-SRSS website and viewed with the fire location
   As FireFax becomes GIS orientated it would be advantageous for station managers and
   communities to have access to ArcExplorer training. Training sessions could be run in

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   conjunction with community or LCDC meeting and could be advertised in the Pastoral
   Memo and via email.
   Fire frequency and season be assessed using satellite imagery and develop recommendations
   for suitable frequencies & seasons of burning.

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   Appendix 2:                  List of Contributors during Stage 1 KRFMP

   Project Staff

   Carol Palmer                      Project Coordinator
   Ben Cross                         Deputy Coordinator
   Nat Raisbeck-Brown                Mapping Specialist
   Meg Flavelle                      Project Officer
   Terry Mahney                      Project officer
   Tricia Handasyde                  Project officer

   Project Consultants

   Fiona Walsh                       Ethnoecologist
   Cath Elderton                     Economics advisor

   Management Committee

   Stuart Gunning                   Kimberley Community           Past Chair
   Peter McCumstie                  Kimberley Community           Past Chair
   Alan Lawford                     KAPA Kimberley Aboriginal Pastoralists
                                            Association     Current Chair
   Ruth Webb-Smith                  PGA     Pastoralists & Graziers Association
   Jeremy Russell-Smith             TS–CRC Tropical Savannas Cooperative
                                                           Research Centre
   Peter Cann                       FESA Fire and Emergency Services Authority (WA)
   Mark Horstmann                   KLC     Kimberley Land Council
   Olive Knight                     KLC
   Tom Birch                        KLC
   Ari Gorring                      KLC
   Tom Vigilante                    KLC
   Chris Done                       CALM Conservation and Land Management
   Peter Kneebone                   WALGA Western Australian Local Government Association
   Butch Maher                      LCDC     Land Conservation District Committee
   Peter Lacey                      LCDC
   Robyn Maher                      LCDC
   Byrne Terry                      LCDC

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   Technical Advisory Group

   Andrew Craig                      Dept of Agriculture, WA
   Tony Start                        CALM
   Kevin White                       CALM
   Peter Saint                       FESA
   Ron Craig                         DLI Department of Land information

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