Indigenous rangers call for climate action as fires worsen
INDIGENOUS rangers have slammed politicians lack of climate action as bush fires get set to worsen over the weekend.
As the Bora Ridge fire continues to burn, one area of concern is the 2000 ha conservation Minyumai Indigenous Protected reserve near Woodburn.
Minyumai Indigenous Protected Area Project Coordinator Russell Irving said the area is home to endangered animals, provides employment to locals and holds deep cultural significance to the Bundjalung traditional owners.
"Our protected area is currently under direct threat by the Myall Creek fire,” Mr Irving said.
"We've had fires in previous years which have been controlled and limited in scale due to the annual fuel reduction burns we apply ... But this is becoming less effective in the face of the devastating and growing impacts of climate change in our region.
"We are in the grip of a severe drought which has rendered the gullies, waterfalls and creeks bone dry for years.”
Mr Irving said the government needed to do more to combat climate change if the country had any chance of surviving years of intense bush fire seasons.
"Fuel reduction burns can only rarely be safely conducted due to the shortening winter periods and when fires do occur they are driven by extreme, above average temperatures, hot dry winds and low humidity,” he said.
"It's the weather, climate and vegetation conditions preventing the effectiveness of the hazard reduction burns in our case, not bureaucracy, city people or local politics.”
Mr Iriving's concern mirrors the other 10 Bandjalang Aboriginal rangers employed on the reserve, who are at risk of losing their workplace and livelihoods.
"Many have lost their homes from the nearby Bora Ridge fire and others are suffering ill health from the smoke,” Mr Irving said.
"They have urged me to make this statement about the real threat to this region and the rangers work, it's not an academic or remote issue for our community.
"We and many of our small scale farming neighbours are at threat of becoming members of the rapidly growing number of climate refugees in our own country.
"Although we welcome the 'thoughts and prayers' of politicians it is not enough...our community is crying out for action on man-made climate change. Because the effects are hurting us now.”