Under the guidance of Uncle Dave Wandin and the Wurundjeri Tribe Council’s Narrap Team, Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) staff participated in their first cool burn at Bababi Djinanang Grassland, Fawkner in mid-July 2019. Cool burns, also known as cultural burns, are conducted using traditional Indigenous land management techniques.
They differ from our usual ecological burns which are normally done in mid-autumn, with a hot fire which moves fast due to the largely dried out vegetation. In contrast, cool burns are done following heavy rains, when the soil is wet and lots of green vegetation has resprouted. The cool fire moves slowly and burns a patchy mosaic, giving wildlife time to move to safe ground.
The low fire intensity and moist ground conditions mean that only dead plant material is burnt leaving the green shoots of plants, and grassland species can then regenerate in the spaces opened up by the fire.
MCMC gives a huge thank you to Uncle Dave and the Narrap Team for the opportunity to participate in a cultural burn and for sharing their knowledge with us. Thanks also to Moreland City Council for the support of their tanker and to the Darebin Bushland Crew for joining us to learn on the day. The burn was made possible through a National Landcare grant to Friends of Merri Creek from the Port Phillip & Westernport Catchment Management Authority. We hope we have more opportunities for cool cultural burns in the future. To see more images of this burn and a short clip, go to our Instagram page.