About Bushfires NT
About Bushfires NT
“To protect life, property and the environment from the threat of wildfire”
A team of 24 staff within the Department of Land Resource Management is responsible for implementing the Bushfires Act and supporting landholders with fire mitigation. Our staff are located in Darwin, Batchelor, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs.
A number of roles are carried out by staff including policy, research, equipment subisdy and maintenance programs, education & extension, training, administrative support and volunteer brigade support. Much of the research carried out is a collaborative effort between Bushfires NT (BFNT), Tropical Savannas CRC, National Heritage Trust (NHT) and other Commonwealth bodies.
The projects, led by Dr Jeremy Russell-Smith, involve fire monitoring and development of coordinated fire mitigation programs across Northern Australia.
BFNT assists Volunteer Bushfire Brigades through the provision of vehicles, operational funding and training. There are currently 22 Volunteer Brigades throughout the Territory, the majority being in the rural areas surrounding Darwin.
Towards A Fire Management Strategy
A Northern Territory bushfire management strategy is being developed by Bushfires NT & the Bushfires Council.
Set out below are the basic aims and objectives of Bushfires in the prevention and mitigation of wildfires.
The guiding principles around which this strategy have been developed are:
- Fire prevention is the responsibility of individual landholders
- Organised efforts towards fire management and control should be directed by the landholder
- Bushfires NT as the umbrella organisation, has a planning and co-ordinating role in fire management as its primary purpose, rather than acting as a fire fighting service
- Traditional burning is still practiced on Aboriginal Land in the Northern Territory.
This strategy will be completed in the mid term, taking into account changes in development in rural areas and advances in research and fire control.
Bushfires NT operates under a series of policy guidelines designed to achieve its fire management objectives. They include
- protection of life, property and the environment from the effects of wildfires
- maintenance of natural resources, including native ecosystems and productive lands, by the use of appropriate fire regimes.
The policy stresses the need for individual landholders, be they public or private, to have fire management plans in place which are in the main devoted to the pre-suppression of large and intense fires. Such plans should be set in the context of a broader regional strategy.
High levels of risk and effort and the degree of technology required mean that direct fire suppression measures are used only when human life, assets or environmental values are threatened.
Bushfires NT sees its primary role as one of co-ordinating pre-suppression work to achieve consistent levels of practice most suited to the differing areas of the Northern Territory.
The implementation of such “best practice” is dependent on research into the effects of fire on the environment.
To reduce the total area burnt by wildfire in the Northern Territory by:
- developing wildfire management and response plans
- educating the public in fire management practices to achieve the best possible results from land management providing the co-ordinating authority for bushfire control
- develop mutual aid agreements with other fire authorities
- reviewing legislation to ensure sufficient power and authority to counter the lighting of illegal fires
To involve individuals and the community as a whole in the responsibility for fire management throughout the Northern Territory through:
- educational, public awareness and extension programs
- promotion of the benefits of wise fire management.
To promote fire management strategies for all parcels of land in the Northern Territory by:
- having fire plans for all managed lands
- establishing demonstration areas
- setting up and monitoring extension programs.
To promote fire research and analyse study data to achieve best practice through:
- sponsorship of externally funded projects
- establishing a priority for annual research projects
- recognising the worth of and testing new fire management techniques
- undertaking specific projects on demand.
To develop fire education and training programs for:
- landholders and managers
- school students
- Aboriginal communities
The Bushfires Council NT is a statutory body established by the Bushfires Act. The role of the Bushfires Council is to advise the Minister on measures to be taken to prevent and control bushfires in the Northern Territory.
Its members recommend to the Minister measures for effective fire management on land throughout the Territory, with the exception of the land within the immediate environs of the main urban centres, which is under the control of the NT Fire and Rescue Service. The Council considers policy and issues affecting the operational efficiency and strategic direction of bushfire management in the NT.
The Minister appoints the Chairman and Members of the Bushfires Council for a three year term of office. Under the Bushfires Act the minimum membership is nine, with the maximum being at the discretion of the Minister. The current Council has a membership of 17. The full Council meets twice a year at various locations in the Northern Territory .