Where to … rethinking fire

In the last session of Talking Fire, there was a chance to reflect on what we had heard and experienced over two intense days. The big question was:  How can we rethink ‘fire’ at a landscape-scale, not just as a threat to a house or a town? And then – So what might we do differently? What have we learnt? What are we puzzled by?

The notes from this session – created through small group discussions where people moved around the topic tables in a ‘world café’ format – have just been loaded onto the Talking Fire website. Many great ideas!

The Muckleford Forest Friends Group (MFFG) are pursuing the topic of “Rethinking … Values” taking on the idea of documenting the biodiversity of the Muckleford Forest, and then reporting each Easter as part of an annual health check for the large Bendigo Box-Ironbark Forest international Key Biodiversity Area. MFFG is one of a number KBA Guardians across our region that are being formed with the support of Connecting Country.

While the Muckleford Forest earns the Dja Dja Wurrung description of  ‘upside down country’ – a reflection of the gold mining history – it is still a much loved and beautiful forest. There is no forest restoration plan for the Muckleford Forest yet, but maybe one day there will be!

Broadly speaking, MFFG plans to select around 10 sites across the Muckleford Forest, and monitor them regularly throughout 2017/2018, so that when the Easter Health Check comes around in 2018, we are in a better position to make an informed assessment. We’ve got ideas for systematic recording, as well as sharing those serendipitous and often wondrous encounters, using the Muckleford Forest blog.

Ultimately it’s all about what we value and how we manage our local landscapes to protect what we love. Want to get involved? If you like planning and organisation, our next meeting is Tues 2 May – or if you’d like to put your hand up to take on a monitoring site (with training on “how to”) or to propose a location you’ve already been monitoring – or with any other great ideas – drop us a line to  to mucklefordffg@bigpond.com

 

 

Talking Fire – Igniting a Spark?

'Talking Fire' A Community Conversation: Understanding fire in our landscape - at the Newstead Community Centre

There’s a triangle involved in fire, which involves conditions, substrate and spark.

The “Talking Fire” weekend on 12/13 November lit a spark, but it certainly wasn’t damaging. The triangle of local, Indigenous and technical expertise, field and forest visits, and space to talk about what we’d heard and seen, all created another sort of ignition.

People are concerned about the places they love, including home, hearth and the local landscape more generally. Talking Fire was a great start to a new kind of conversation: about learning, reducing fear, building understanding, caring for our towns, settlements and the whole landscape together.

Thanks to everyone who participated and contributed. Especially Maldon Urban Landcare Group (MULGA). For funding – thanks to Mount Alexander Shire Community Grants, Maldon and District Community Bank (Bendigo Bank), Norman Wettenhall Foundation; catering – Newstead Primary School, Newstead Mens’ Shed; gifts – Goughs Range Olives and Newstead Natives; in-kind support – Newstead Landcare, Connecting Country, Newstead Fire Brigade, Newstead Auxiliary, Friends of Box Ironbark Forests, Bendigo TAFE, DELWP; photographers – Julie Hough, Julie Millowick, Christine Sayer, Marion Williams, Simon Beckett; sound recordists – Andrew Skeoch, Sarah Koschak; oral histories – Gordon Dowell. And three cheers for the planning group too.talking-fire_marionw-_low-res-4623

And mostly, to everyone who came to any of it, or all, and joined the chat. We think there were around 40 – 50 on each day, and not the same attendees, or speakers. It made for more conversations.

Because many people couldn’t attend the event, or only came to parts of it, we are curating the audio, visual and audio-visual of the weekend at our website http://www.talkingfire.org. You will be able to get a gist of the conversations there. But please be a bit patient for it all to arrive.

We are also interested in collecting ‘fire histories’ around the CFA auxiliary, and other fire experiences – to share and learn from. Contact Gordon 0467 586 881 or Janet 0439 003 469.

More info: http://www.talkingfire.org or Chris 54762457.

Talking Fire – come along on Sunday

post pictureDay 1 of Talking Fire was a hit – plenty of listening, reflecting, talking, sharing. We learnt that fire isn’t just one thing – every fire is different. Fire shapes ecology and it shapes the stories we tell. Our bush – the Box-Ironbark forest – doesn’t need fire for regeneration, but it can tolerate very occasional fires. We heard about cultural fires, slow trickling fires that are safe fires. And we talked about where risk reduction might be best – public land, private land or a strategic combination. What’s the right path to take?

Come along on Sunday and hear more. We start at 10.30 and finish at 3.30 at Newstead Community Centre. Looking forward to another great day!

Talking Fire – the conversation starts tomorrow!

Maldon area; fire, ecology, people - can they all co-exist?
Maldon area; fire, ecology, people – can they all co-exist?

Don’t forget – our community conversation Talking Fire starts at 10am on Saturday at the Newstead Community Centre. Everyone is welcome – come for the weekend, for a day or a session – and its free.

Talking Fire is about our local community, and fire in our local landscape. How can we work better as a community to reduce the risk to us – to our homes, families and friends – as well as protect our forests, wildlife and cultural sites?

Saturday will start at 10am with a welcome to Country, short talks on cultural burning, ecology, local fire experiences and fire myths with speakers Trent Nelson, Professor Andrew Bennett, Joan Sartori and Sam Strong.  If you are coming on our field visit to look at the landscape (11-30am – 3pm Saturday) don’t forget your lunch, water bottle, sensible shoes and mossie repellent!

Or head to the Community Centre and record your experience about fire with Gordon Dowell – do you remember the 1981 fire? did you set your haystack alight? or stories passed don from your forebears about fire?

On Sunday we start at 10.30 with a focus on risk: landscape-scale fire planning from Alison Boak (DELWP), community planning around risk from Steve Pascoe, and vegetation and fire from David Cheal, fire ecologist, and then we’ll look at how local planning could reduce risk.

After lunch, provided by Newstead Men’s Shed and Community Garden, Jinette de Gooijer will facilitate an exploration of ideas and options on how we might respond – as a community – to what we have learnt over the weekend.

What will come out of Talking Fire? Come along and share your ideas – that’s what its all about. Register via our website – talkingfire.org – it only takes a minute and it’s free, or drop in.

Thanks to Mount Alexander Shire Community Grants, Maldon & District Community Bank (Bendigo Bank), and the Norman Wettenhall Foundation for funding support, and to all the local organisations and individuals who are helping make Talking Fire a reality.

Talking Fire is for everyone!

Come along to Talking Fire, 12-13 November. It’s free and you can come for the whole weekend, or drop in for a day or a session.

Maldon area; fire, ecology, people - can they all co-exist?
Maldon area; fire, ecology, people – can they co-exist?

Talking Fire is about our local community, and fire in our local landscape. How can we work better as a community to reduce the risk to us – to our homes, families and friends – as well as protect our forests, wildlife and cultural sites? Talking Fire won’t be anything like the standard annual fire briefing!

Saturday will start at 10am with a welcome to Country, short talks on cultural burning, ecology, local fire experiences and fire myths with speakers Trent Nelson, Professor Andrew Bennett, Joan Sartori and Sam Strong.  Then we’ll head out to Mt Tarrengower to hear from long-term fire spotter Peter Skilbeck. Then we will visit the Muckleford Forest to look at how the forest has recovered after the 1981 fire and the more recent planned burns, with guides Paul Bates (DELWP), Tanya Loos, David Cheal and others. Instead you can drop into the Newstead Community Centre and record your fire stories with Gordon Dowell, or map favourite places that you’d like to see protected from fire. Everyone will come together at 3.30 to share what we have learnt, and set the scene for Sunday.

Sunday morning starts at 10.30, and our focus will be on risk. We’ll hear about landscape-scale fire planning from Alison Boak (DELWP), community planning around risk from Steve Pascoe, and vegetation and fire from David Cheal, fire ecologist. Turning to the local scene, representatives from our local brigades and the Shire will look at how local planning could reduce risk.

After lunch, provided by Newstead Men’s Shed and Community Garden, Jinette de Gooijer will facilitate an exploration of ideas and options on how we might respond – as a community – to what we have learnt over the weekend.

What will come out of Talking Fire? That is in the hands of everyone who comes and contributes! So come along. Register via our website – talkingfire.org – it only takes a minute and it’s free.

Thanks to Mount Alexander Shire Community Grants, Maldon & District Community Bank (Bendigo Bank), and the Norman Wettenhall Foundation for funding support, and to all the local organisations and individuals who are helping make Talking Fire a reality.

Maldon, Newstead and places in between – Talking Fire

Join us in a conversation to better understand fire in our landscape at the Newstead Community Centre over the weekend of 12/13 November.

‘Talking Fire’ will discuss what fire means for our local communities and the environment. The aim is to bring local expertise and knowledge together with outside experts in the field of fire behaviour and fire ecology, so that the community can talk about and better understand, plan, and live with fire.

Some of the questions driving our conversation are:
– What is the history of fire in our area?
– How have the landscape, community & fire policies changed?
– How can we protect what we value?
– How can we respond to fire risk, now & in the future?

You may have other questions, ideas or solutions.

We are also seeking local knowledge and stories. Do you have a “fire experience”, direct or indirect, to share? As a part of the weekend Gordon Dowell will be recording the stories and histories of locals. The Newstead CFA Auxiliary are amongst those we will be keen to hear from.

We hope that from the weekend our local landscape can be seen anew, through the eyes of scientists, fire experts and long lived locals alike, and through a wider, “landscape lens”, not just from a household or property viewpoint.

Whether you live in Newstead or Maldon town, or the bush and farmland surrounds, we invite you along to ‘talk fire’. Come to any or all sessions. The event is free, but we need bookings to help our caterers, the Newstead Preschool, Primary School and Mens’ Shed, provide enough for all.

Thanks to Mount Alexander Shire, Maldon & District Community Bank (Bendigo Bank) and Norman Wettenhall Foundation for supporting the event. Many more supporters are contributing in non-financial ways. See our website http://www.talkingfire.org and to book.

Talking Fire pics

Join in the conversation

Major Mitchell passed this way.... and noted the landscape in his diary, now Joyces Park. Joan Butler was farming at Sutton Grange on the family grazing property before she joined the Butler dynasty. Her husband John was the 4th generation Butler and their sons Tim and Tony jointly run the family farm, with their children making it 6 generations of Butlers on the land. Joan has experienced massive changes in her time on the land.
Major Mitchell passed this way … A changing landscape (image: Janet Barker)

What is the place of fire in our landscape? Friend, foe or just part of living here?

Join us in a Community Conversation about fire in our landscape on November 12-13, 2016 at the Newstead Community Centre.

Through our Community Conversation we will learn about fire in the Newstead-Maldon landscape: the history of fire, local ecology, fire risk and community-based approaches to better landscape planning and management to protect what we value.

During the weekend there will be talks, displays, biodiversity walks, visits to the sites of past fires, and a chance to record your memories of local fires. Supported by community and external experts, the weekend will be a chance to learn about more and share ideas across our local communities. This event is for those in Newstead, Maldon and everywhere in between and close by.

Put the date in your diary. Watch for updates via The Echo, Tarrangower Times, the Newstead Community Facebook page and other local media.