What is Fire stick farming? Fire stick farming is the traditional way Aboriginal people looked after the land and created fire breaks to ensure large destructive summer fires were not a threat.
Communication Fire was a form of communication. When water supplies were running low one of the men would travel to where they knew the next source of water would be. On his way there he would take a fire stick and burn small patches of grass as he went.
If the waterhole had sufficient water, he would build up a stockpile grass, wood, a few green leaves and branches. When he lit it the thick smoke would signal the family that it was time to shift camp to this new location. They could easily follow the freshly burnt out pathway to the waterhole.
Hunting Fire was an important with hunting but was rarely used to actually kill animals directly. Instead, areas were set on fire in such a way as to direct animals to where they could be easily killed.
Fire was also be used to smoke animals out of caves and tree trunks.
After the fire would attract animals back to the area, once again providing easy hunting. In different parts of Australia different fire regimes were used and adapted to local needs
Land Management Aboriginal people burn the land in the cool months when there are dark clouds. Fire was, and in some placed still is, used to ‘clean up’ the country. The men organized burnt patches giving the landscape an arrangement pattern of different aged grasses.
Patch burning created good habitat for small game mammals such as Bilbies and Mala. They sheltered in the old grasses and fed of the new grasses.
Fire stick farming is the traditional way Aboriginal people looked after the land and created fire breaks to ensure large destructive summer fires were not a threat.
With the land burnt, new growth was promoted and soon became plenty, food could be gathered for several months after a fire.
Courtney from Study Moose
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