Webinar Series - Towards an Integrated Fire Management


These webinars are part of a series comprising the 8 sessions of the Pyrolife International Symposium: Towards an Integrated Fire Management, 3 June – 22 July, 2020.

Integrated Fire Management in Aotearoa, New Zealand Drawing on Social and Cultural Research with Rural and Rural-urban Interface Communities

Lisa Langer; Senior scientist and Assistant Research Leader, Scion (New Zealand Forest Research Institute)

Historically wildfires in New Zealand have been relatively small but frequent and predominately caused by human activities.  A 25% increase in wildfires was experienced in 2016-17 with larger wildfires occurring in close proximity to urban areas. Management of wildfires requires more than an understanding of technical and behavioural issues of fire and a corresponding emphasis on response. It is essential also to identify influences behind rural and rural-urban communities’ wildfire risk perceptions and to understand how to encourage complex, diverse communities towards better preparation for wildfires, with particular attention to indigenous Māori who are integral to New Zealand communities.

Aboriginal Women and Cultural Burning in NSW Australia

Vanessa Cavanagh; Bundjalung / Wonnarua. University of Wollongong

During the summer of 2019/20 Australia suffered unprecedented wildfires. In these fires 33 people died, and another 450 people were killed from the effects of smoke from the fires. The fires burnt across 10 million hectares, decimating wildlife, forests, agriculture and infrastructure with 3,000 homes lost. Amid the crisis, people sought for solutions to better address fire management. Attention turned to Aboriginal fire knowledge and practice. For Aboriginal people, who are the longest continuing culture on Earth, fire is an integral feature of Aboriginal culture and is founded on a healthy respectful relationship of coexistence within the natural world, what is sometimes referred to as caring for Country. Aboriginal people successfully lived with fire for thousands of generations prior to European colonisation. As part of Aboriginal peoples’ self-determining action, efforts are being made to maintain and reinvigorate Aboriginal fire knowledge and practice, including in locations where it has been marginalised through colonisation such as in the south east of the continent where the effects of colonisation first impacted. My research seeks to promote the voices of Aboriginal women within Aboriginal cultural burning in NSW. ​Aboriginal people are a minority group nationally, and Aboriginal women experience intersectional challenges to their full participation in caring for Country.

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