Tackling Climate Change with Cultural Burning

Healing Country & Community with Good Fire Practices

Tackling Climate Change with Cultural Burning

Healing Country & Community with Good Fire Practices

Collaborations -


The issue

This project was born from the Black Summer Bushfires which burnt over 250,000ha in our region. The fires caused significant biodiversity loss, removal of critical habitat, extreme soil erosion and reduced water quality.

In addition, there was a major physical, mental and emotional toll on the community, with people fighting the blaze on all sides and businesses crippled by necessary road closures during the prolonged hazardous conditions.

Individuals and organisations around Braidwood felt alternative fire management practices needed to be explored to prevent these catastrophes from happening again in the future. 

This project aimed to deliver an educational experience that increased local knowledge and leadership in fire management practices specific to our region and vegetation.

The solution

Upper Shoalhaven Landcare was awarded funding to run a series of cultural engagement workshops in Broad Gully, Mongarlowe, under the NSW Government's Increasing Resilience to Climate Change Community Grants Program. 

Under the guiding eye of an Aboriginal woman, our first workshop focused on training local RFS in flora identification, surveying methods, and understanding the best times to burn based on species' cycles. 

The second workshop was a 2-day practical demonstration of cultural burning in action. Members of Landcare, Mongarlowe Volunteer Rural Fire Brigade, and local landholders converged to listen and learn from a team of Walbunja Fire Practitioners.

The impact

By bringing together local RFS brigades, botanists, landholders, Landcare and Aboriginal groups, we’ve facilitated vital knowledge sharing and demonstrated how good fire practices can be used as a tool to reduce fuel loads and help mitigate the impacts of our changing climate.

In addition, adopting these cool burning techniques can improve landscape health and reap huge biodiversity benefits in the process. A healthy landscape lends itself to a healthy community, and the locals involved in the project came away with a positive sense that, together, we can help address the impacts of climate change and extreme bushfires in our region.

Key facts

  • 15+ participants in flora ID workshop
  • 75 participants in cultural burn weekend
  • Production of community feature film
  • Up to 10 ha of bush culturally burnt
  • Ongoing vegetation monitoring and report produced
  • 8 traditional fire practitioners engaged

Project Partners