Issue 34, 2007


Eureka win for Arnhem Land Fire Project

CONGRATULATIONS to the entire West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement (WALFA) project team who won the inaugural Eureka Prize for Innovative Solutions to Climate Change in August. Special congratulations to the project’s leaders Jeremy Russell-Smith (TS-CRC and Bushfires NT), Peter Cooke (Wardekken Land Management Limited) and Traditional Owner Lofty Bardayal Nadjamerrek, AO.

Eureka Prize presentation in Arnhem Land. Left to right: Peter Biless, Lofty Bardayal Nadjamerrek AO, Lynette Thorstensen (IAG), Djawida Nadjongnorle
Eureka Prize presentation in Arnhem Land. Left to right: Peter Biless, Lofty Bardayal Nadjamerrek AO, Lynette Thorstensen (IAG), Djawida Nadjongnorle
Photo: Peter Jacklyn

The project has involved a host of other people including traditional owners and Indigenous rangers, the Northern Land Council, Darwin Liquefied Natural Gas, CSIRO, Australian Greenhouse Office, Landgate and the Northern Territory Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts.

The WALFA team has spent 10 years developing the program which aims to abate west Arnhem Land wildfires. In 2000, savanna fires caused 40% of official greenhouse gas emissions in the Northern Territory and account for 2–4% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The WALFA scheme has reduced emissions by the equivalent of more than 256,000 tonnes of CO2.

WALFA uses a ‘Two Tool Kit’ approach because it employs Indigenous practice and western scientific knowledge to reduce wildfires. These techniques include cross-cultural planning and assessment, long cross-country bush walks, burning programs and sophisticated fire-mapping technology as available on the FireNorth website, link below. Australian Museum Director Frank Howarth said that the judges admired the cross-cultural collaboration on the project and applauded the WALFA team for their innovation and perseverance.

“We also are thrilled to hear that Indigenous children have an increased interest in science at school, after seeing traditional rangers and western scientists work on the scheme.”

In late September, the Eureka Prize was given to the Kabulwarnamyo community by the prize sponsors IAG, in a presentation ceremony in western Arnhem Land.

Articles

The West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement (WALFA) Project

The West Arnhem Fire Management Project (WALFA) is a partnership between Darwin Liquefied Natural Gas (DLNG) [read more...]

Contacts

Mr Peter Cooke
Fire Management Coordinator
Wardekken Land Management Limited
Tel: 08 89790772

14 Lantana St
NIGHTCLIFF, NT 0810


Dr Jeremy Russell-Smith
Fire Management Consultant
Tel: 08 8922 0830

Fax: 08 8922 0833

PO Box 37346
WINNELLIE, NT