The aerial prescribed burning program for Nitmiluk National Park has started early this year, due to an unusually dry wet season.

Controlled “cool” burning in the early dry season is part of a regime that is used to stop wildfires raging across the landscape.

Ranger groups usually start prescribed burning in May, but NT Parks and Wildlife Acting Chief District Ranger Phill Cowan says poor rainfall has forced them to start much earlier.

“Rainfall gauges in Nitmiluk have registered an average of 50 per cent less rainfall for the period November 2018 to March 2019, compared to the same time last year,” says Mr Cowan.

“In an average year, the program would not start for at least another month, so Parks staff have mobilsed to start burning much earlier than usual.”

NT Parks and Wildlife rangers have worked closely with the Jawoyn Rangers to plan and implement a number of burns.

“We hope that by completing the aerial burns earlier, we can avoid more damaging fires as the country continues to dry,” says Mr Cowan.

“For the burning just completed, parks implemented four burns during a two hour flight, targeting areas that didn’t burn last year.“

All four fires continued to be active over a number of days, burning with a low intensity.

Before burning started, Jawoyn Rangers and Parks rangers flew along the Jatbula Trail, landing at each campsite to undertake fuel reduction activities on the ground

“This was to make sure the infrastructure on the trail was protected from fire before aerial operations commenced.,” says Mr Cowan.

“Overall the fires were a success and a good start to the burning program.

“If there isn’t more rain soon, Parks will look to continue burning.

“Thanks to Scott Herring from Jawoyn and Ben Lewis for assisting with the planning and implementation of the burns.

“Parks are committed to working together with Jawoyn Rangers to look after country, and looks forward to continuing to collaborate together on the fire project.”

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