Wiyn-murrup Yangarramela – fire spirit comes back
Led by: Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, Wiyn-murrup Yangarramela Working Group (representatives from: Wadawurrung Aboriginal Corporation, Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Country Fire Authority, Golden Plains Shire Council, Parks Victoria and Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority).
Wiyn-murrup Yangarramela is a project that has enabled the Wadawurrung people and the broader Aboriginal community to connect with country through traditional fire practice.
A collaboration between Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative, Wadawurrung people, CFA, DELWP, Parks Victoria, Gold Plains Shire Council and Glenelg Hopkins CMA, the project involved a training program for agency representatives and Traditional Owners covering Aboriginal cultural burning knowledge and fire practices, undertaking of traditional burns and flora and fauna monitoring.
The project has culminated in a Traditional Burn Field Day at Teesdale, north-west of Geelong.
The judges commended the project for demonstrating the benefits of collaborating to share knowledge and experience.
The St Andrews Conversations
Led by: Nillumbik Shire Council, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, St Andrews Fire Brigade (CFA)
Supported by: St Andrews Community
The Nillumbik Shire Council, in partnership with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and the CFA, implemented a project to foster a more authentic dialogue between community, agencies and emergency services. The St Andrews Conversations have encouraged discourse between these groups, leading to increased trust levels, increasing capacity for local engagement, while supporting decision-making based on local community values.
The project is an example of how agencies and the community can establish a partnership which generates mutually beneficial outcomes. Through this dialogue, a unique space has been created where diversity is valued, and everyone’s knowledge is considered equally important. The conversations have enabled agencies and the St Andrews community to collaboratively rethink effective fire management and mitigation. The project has led to increased trust between the diverse range of stakeholders within the community, while also increasing participation in community engagement activities ten-fold.
Djandak Wi – traditional burning returns
Led by: Forest Fire Management Victoria, Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation
Forest Fire Management Loddon Mallee has commenced a program in collaboration with the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation to incorporate traditional Aboriginal methods of planned burning into the region’s existing planned burning program. In historic terms, contemporary planned burning is pre-dated by thousands of years by this country’s Traditional Owners.
This unique collaboration has led to a greater mutual understanding between the two groups as well as enabling opportunities to learn from the other’s experience in fire management practices. The successful collaboration between FFM Loddon Mallee and Dja Dja Wurrung has gained media attention nationwide across ABC and SBS, as well as being positively affirmed on various social media channels.
While the traditional burning initiative has increased cultural and historical recognition among the local community, it has also underlined the importance of building community relationships in order to collaboratively work together to reducing fire risk.
Led by: Eastern Regional Libraries, Ferntree Gully Fire Brigade (CFA)
Supported by: The Basin Fire Brigade (CFA), Bayswater Fire Brigade (CFA)
Since the projects conception in 2014, Funtime Storytime – a primary-school program promoting basic home fire safety messages – has grown to be one of the most popular free events in the Ferntree Gully area. Through pantomime, play acting and storytelling, Funtime Storytime combines reading and literacy initiatives from the Eastern Regional Libraries with fire risk and hazard comprehension.
Targeted at preschoolers, their parents and grandparents, Funtime Storytime reinforces important elements of fire safety, including why we have smoke alarms in our homes, how to effectively use a fire blanket and the importance of preventing house and kitchen fires. These messages are communicated through immersive and enjoyable activities.
As well as having high participation rates, Funtime Storytime has promoted and strengthened the already strong bond between the Ferntree Gully CFA and Eastern Regional Libraries, which has led to further networking opportunities and partnerships in the community.
Harvest Fire Mitigation Workshops
Led by: Kevin Bolwell (CFA Volunteer and Broadacre Farmer), CFA West Region, EMMETTS Agricultural Dealership Horsham
Supported by: CFA District 16, CFA District 17
To mitigate the risk of agricultural harvest fires, two CFA members, Kevin Bolwell and Jenny McGennisken, launched a program to increase awareness and share information to help local farmers reduce the risk of harvest fire.
Kevin and Jenny, in cooperation with Emmets Agricultural Dealership Horsham, communicated integral information around mechanics, weather conditions, heat sources and recommended practices to a local and international farming audience. Through a period of diligent research around harvest fires and risk management and response, Kevin engaged with local farmers through presentations to share his learnings and provide advice. Through the duo’s work, farmers who attended these workshops applied the knowledge shared to rethink their current harvest fire plan, and altered the way their machinery was used in the paddock to reduce their fire risk.
Living with Bushfire Community Conference 2016
Led by: Yarra Ranges Council, Municipal Fire Management Planning Committee
Supported by: Box Hill Institute, Community Based Emergency Management groups
Across two days in October 2016, the Yarra Ranges Council and Municipal Fire Management Planning Committee brought together members of the community with diverse skills and backgrounds to build relationships and share knowledge about bushfire risk, mitigation and recovery. The Living With Bushfire program included an agenda of fire behaviour, risk, youth, art, ecology, community impacts, indigenous fire knowledge and personal experience.
Given the high-risk location of the Yarra Ranges, the Living With Bushfire program was important in building a safer, more prepared, resilient community. Subject matter experts – from academics to business to emergency agencies.
This was the first conference in the Yarra Ranges to bring community, government, and emergency agencies together to work on emergency management planning and fire awareness initiatives.