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Understanding Fire

This 11-minute video is an extract from an SBS Insight episode – Season 2016 Episode 2 — Line of Fire, where Jenny Brockie interviews VICTOR STEFFENSEN, INDIGENOUS FIRE PRACTITIONER.

There needs to be a cultural shift. We need to evolve our culture with fire.Victor Steffensen, Indigenous Fire Practitioner

JENNY BROCKIE asks: How different would people’s back yards look, looking out onto the bush if it was being managed the way you want to manage it?

VICTOR STEFFENSEN: Well the bush would be a lot more clearer from head height. So if we’re able to describe what it would look like, it would be green, it would be clean right through and there’d be a rich green canopy along the top as well. So the country would like quite beautiful. It doesn’t matter how big the fuel load is and I’ll be very bold and I’ll say it doesn’t matter how big the fuel load is, we can always protect the canopy and I’ve proven that so many times from as far as north Queensland to Tasmania.

JENNY BROCKIE: And why is that so important to protect the canopy?

VICTOR STEFFENSEN: Well the canopy is a whole other world. The canopy is so important to us because it has the life of the flowers, the fruits, the birds, the animals, that’s a whole other place up there that we can’t walk up there, just like we can’t walk on the water, you know? So that top canopy is very, very sacred and the simple rule that it never burns and if you burn the canopy, then you have the wrong fire. And so teaching how you can burn where fire behaves like water and it trickles through the country and it doesn’t burn everything.

Justin Leonard is a fire scientist with the CSIRO.

JENNY BROCKIE asks: What are the best things people can do?

JUSTIN LEONARD: They have to start with understanding the land and the landscape. It’s this complete connection. I think if they’re not willing to buy into the idea of completely becoming part of that location, you know, pick another place.

About Judy

Hi, I'm one of a group of authors and editors for the Sydney Goodwill website.

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