At a time when Australian State Government’s are failing to take advantage of Indigenous local knowledge the African Government of Botswana turned to Australian Indigenous knowledge to assist them in managing their bush fire risk.
FISH – Foundation for Indigenous Sustainable Health commends the ABC TV news for featuring this story in May 2019.
A group of Aboriginal rangers returned from the trip of a lifetime – teaching government workers how to stop the big bush-fires sweeping through their savannas.
Over tens of thousands of year, Indigenous cultures around the world mastered the art of using weather conditions and early burns to prevent big, high-heat fires that could destroy shelter and food sources. In most parts of the world that knowledge has been lost – but not in Australia!
Wunggurr ranger Robin Dann, from Gibb River Station, says the Botswaneans were blown away by the Aussies’ skills.
“I feel really good knowing that I passed on something” he says.
“When they were trying to put out a fire, they’d be running around, lots of people and fire trucks, not much leadership and not much knowledge of fire, and it ended up a real big hot fire.”
“But for us, we used the wind, and ours was less intense, less heat, hardly any smoke.”
“We’re different cultures, but for both of us, fire is so important, and once upon a time the fire regime in Australia was the best in the world I reckon.”
There are plans for Botswanean government rangers to visit the Kimberley later this year to learn more.