Fires are a natural part of human life. We need it for warmth, to cook food, to stop chasing those fast, tricky and tasty critters for food by the humans (and those extra trees and bushes do get in the way of a good spear flying through the air) and just trap them inside a circle of fire, keep the big and dangerous predators away, and later to bring quick rejuvenation to an old plant-filled environment.
In Australia, the situation is no different. Since the days when the first Aborigines migrated to this continent and brought with them the technology of fire, the land has been transformed by fire from a once wet and relatively lushes continent of 100,000 years ago to one of the driest continents in the world today. Now fire has become an absolute necessity for controlling the excessive build up of dry growth that has the potential to create considerably more dangerous hot fires ready to destroy the next generation of seeds laying dormant underground and so ultimately turn our lands into permanent deserts in a matter of no time. Cool fires are the best way to go at least here in Australia, and creating more cool fires today to keep the dry growth to a manageable level is seen by many experts as an example of how human-induced change can have a positive effect on the natural environment. As for those cumbersome, large megafauna and other interesting animals that once existed in Australia during the wetter early period, they were just too slow to escape the fire and needed to be wiped out in favour of those smaller faster moving or able to hide underground creatures making up our modern Australian biodiversity of wildlife, such as kangaroos, echidnas, and the surprisingly resilient and tough wombat for its size and speed. We are forever indebted to those very early settlers for making this country for what it is today, and in helping to save cities and towns from being burned to a crisp, and in keeping our existing wildlife constantly on their toes.
Although humans have, and will continue to, benefit from fire when clearing the lands for agriculture and in gathering enough animals for food and cooking, not to mention (presumably) the environment by forcing a wide variety of Australian native plants to adapt and even depend on fire for its survival and propagation, fires can have a negative impact on people, especially for those living in rural communities.
As Australia remains one of the driest and most susceptible places on Earth to experience severe fires, it is vitally important to take precautions and develop reasonably effective strategies to minimise the negative impact fires can have on the lives of people and the properties they hold. This is where this free information section comes in handy. We provide you with the essentials in managing and controlling fires wherever you may live. We have included basic information about the factors controlling a fire and what you can do to protect the environment, yourself and others against the threat of a fire.
- ABOUT FIRE
What is fire and how to control it?
- UNDERSTANDING YOUR ENVIRONMENT
How does your environment affect fires?
- PROTECTING YOUR ENVIRONMENT
A check list for protecting the outside of your house
- PROTECTING YOUR ENVIRONMENT
A check list for protecting the inside of your house
- PROTECTING PEOPLE
A check list for protecting yourself and others
Dealing with people and the environment for effective fire management