Our 10th Biennial Bushfire Conference - Fire and Restoration: working with fire for healthy lands was held 26-27 May 2015 in Sydney

Proceedings of NCCs 10th Biennial Bushfire Conference, 26-27 May 2015


Download Abstracts Booklet here

Nature Conservation Council of NSW 10th Biennial Bushfire Conference Fire and Restoration: working with fire for healthy lands examined how fire can be used to rehabilitate degraded landscapes, restore ecological integrity and reinstate resilience into the environment and the community. 

The program explored four key questions aimed at supporting agencies and communities in their fire and restoration efforts:

  1. Why do we need to use fire for restoration and how does this practice link with risk management?
  2. What does using fire for restoration mean for different groups including: ecologists, councils, Aboriginal communities, farmers, fire agencies, regeneration teams, Local Land Services, National Parks and others?
  3. How are people currently implementing fire for restoration and what would they like to be doing? This included the practicalities and logistics of ecological burns, challenges faced and outcomes achieved.
  4. Where to from here? This theme discussed how can knowledge be developed and distributed, how we can  build confidence in using fire, what gaps need to be addressed and how we can strengthen networks

Presentations drew on the experience and expertise of speakers from a broad range of areas including from science, Indigenous cultural values, on-ground restoration and management, with case studies exploring the innovations, challenges and outcomes of this work.

The conference provided a unique opportunity to strengthen relationships between fire authorities, land managers, scientists, Aboriginal communities, volunteer bush regenerators and communities.

Opening Addresses

  • Welcome to Country, Uncle Allen Madden (Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council)
  • Opening Address, Assistant Commissioner Stuart Midgley (NSW Rural Fire Service) Slides
  • Opening Address, Kate Smoski (Nature Conservation Council of NSW, CEO) Transcript
  • Day 2 Opening Address, Robert Quirk (Office of Environment & Heritage, National Parks & Wildlife Service, Acting Director Park Conservation & Heritage) Transcript  Slides
  • Day 2 Opening Address, John Travers (Travers Bushfire and Ecology) 

Conference Proceedings theme 1: Why use fire for restoration?

  • Setting the scene: climate change and the changing fire risk, Professor Lesley Hughes (Macquarie University, Climate Council of Australia)  Transcript  Slides
  • Navigating terminology: When is fire a tool for 'maintaining' vs 'restoring' ecosystems?, Dr Tein McDonald (Tein McDonald & Associates)  Transcript  Slides
  • Aboriginal agriculture and land management, Bruce Pascoe (Writer – Author of Dark Emu)  Transcript 
  • Lighting the Path – An application of Indigenous Traditional Burning Techniques in the control of serrated tussock (Nassella trichotoma) and ‘bringing back country’, Uncle Neil Ingram and Michelle Hines (Orange Local Aboriginal Land Council & Central Tablelands Local Land Service)  Transcript  Video
  • Where has all the fire gone? Quantifying the spatial and temporal extent of fire exclusion in Byron Shire, NSW, Andrew Baker (Wildsite Ecological Services)  Transcript  Slides
  • When is burning good for the bush?, Dr Naomi Rea (Mulga Data Services)  Transcript  Slides

Conference Proceedings theme 2: What does is mean to use fire for restoration?

  • The management of restored grassy ground cover sites: Fire as a tool in maintaining diversity and influencing vegetation structure, Dr Paul Gibson-Roy (Greening Australia)  Transcript  Slides
  • Combining science and fire to restore the habitat of a rare bird: a case study from north-eastern NSW, Dr  Elizabeth Tasker (NSW Office of Environment & Heritage)  (Transcript and slides coming soon)
  • Culture, Burning & Bush Regeneration in Garby Country Project, Jamie Bertram (NSW Rural Fire Service)  Transcript  Slides
  • Managing fire for nature conservation in sub-tropical woodlands, Emma Burgess (University of Queensland)  Transcript  Slides
  • Case Study: Re-introducing fire to critically endangered grassland ecosystems on Trust for Nature owned properties, Justine Leahy (Victorian Country Fire Authority)  Transcript  Slides
  • Bushfire Resilience for Aboriginal Communities Project (BRAC), David Curry (NSW Rural Fire Service)  Transcript  Slides
  • To burn or not to burn: koala habitat regeneration trial Tyagarah, Northern NSW, Justin Mallee (Tweed and Byron Shire Councils)  Transcript  Slides
  • Vegetation management in peri-urban landscapes: Perceptions and response to fire and risk, Dr Emily Moskwa (University of Adelaide & University of South Australia)  Transcript  Slides
  • Fuel load, structure and flammability of weeds as key factors in Australian classification frameworks, Dr Felipe Aires (University of Sydney)  Transcript  Slides
  • Trialling the use of fire to manage priority weeds in Cumberland Plain vegetation, Jonathon Sanders and Dr Charles Morris (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, University of Western Sydney)  (Transcript and slides available in July)

Conference Proceedings theme 3: How is fire being used for restoration?

  • Fire management business in Australia's tropical savannas, Adjunct Professor Jeremy Russell-Smith (Charles Darwin University)  Transcript  Slides
  • Constraints to using fire as a land management tool in the Hunter Valley mining industry, Dan Pederson (Kleinfelder Australia)  Transcript  Slides
  • Operational planning and logistics - introducing fire into the landscape, Robert Strauch (Fire & Rescue NSW)  Transcript  Slides  Video 1  Video 2
  • From doom to bloom - ecological burning in an urban bushland reserve, Amelia Jones (Hornsby Shire Council)  Transcript  Slides
  • Challenges of resuscitating a fuel management program in a complex regulatory framework, Mick Wilson (Forestry Corporation of NSW) Transcript  Slides
  • The State Mine Fire, October 2013 - patterns of vegetation recovery, Roger Lembit (Gingra Ecological Surveys)  Transcript  Slides
  • Aboriginal Grassy Pathways: unpacking how they underpinned regional biodiversity, Dr Malcolm Ridges and Geoff Simpson (NSW Office of Environment & Heritage)  Transcript  Slides
  • Reconciliation in the grasslands, Tom Dexter (Eurobodalla Shire Council)  Transcript  Slides
  • Fire, weeds and healthy ecosystems, Mark Graham (Nature Conservation Council of NSW)   (transcript available soon) Slides
  • Facilitated Discussion: How to? Fire, weeds and beyond – exploring innovations, challenges and questions from those using fire for restoration  

Conference Proceedings theme 4: Where do we go from here?

  • Cooperation to protect communities, koalas and long-nosed potoroos, Phil Paterson (NSW Rural Fire Service)  Transcript  Slides
  • Prescribed burning provides opportunities for site restoration via weed management in the Mount Lofty Ranges, Andrew Sheath (Dept of Environment Water and Natural Resources SA)  Transcript  Slides
  • Supporting and communicating applied subtropical fire research, Dr Samantha Lloyd (South-East Queensland Fire & Biodiversity Consortium) (transcript available soon) Transcript  Slides
  • Blue Mountains Fire Sticks, Den Barber (Blue Mountains Fire Sticks, NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service)  Transcript  Slides
  • Why do we burn? Key themes from cultural burning research in northern NSW, Dr Miles Holmes and Oliver Costello (Beit Holmes and Associates, Nature Conservation Council)  Transcript  Slides  Video
  • Fire and restoration: Looking forward, Waminda Parker (Nature Conservation Council) 
  • Closing address, Kate Smolski (Nature Conservation Council)  

Conference Sponsors

We would like to acknowledge the generous support of our conference sponsors:

sponsors combined wide.jpg (2)

Previous Conference Proceedings

2013 Bushfire Conference Proceedings: Fire and Healthy Landscapes: resilient environment, resilient people

2011 Bushfire Conference Abstracts: Bushfire in the Landscape: diffferent values, a shared vision

2009 Bushfire Conference Abstracts: Biodiversity Under Fire

2007 Bushfire Conference Abstracts: Bushfire in a Heating World

For information on where to borrow proceedings from the 1994 Conference Bushfire!Looking to the Future, the 1998 Conference Protecting the Environment Land, Life and Property, the 2000 Conference Red Trucks: Green Futures, the 2002 Conference Bushfires: managing the risk and the 2004 Conference Bushfire in a Changing Environment, visit the National Library of Australia,


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