Fire Management at Mornington-Marion Downs

Fire Management at Mornington-Marion Downs

Wildfires – fires that occur in the late dry season, burning at high intensity across large areas – are a major threat to biodiversity in the Kimberley. If not managed, such fires can cover 1 million hectares.  

Fire management at Mornington and Marion Downs involves prescribed burning in the early dry season (usually April-May) and, if required, fire suppression in the late dry (August – December). Prescribed burning is delivered by aerial incendiary operations – dropping incendiaries from helicopter – with supplementary ground burning operations.  

Prescribed burning is intended to break-up country, creating a patchwork of fuel loads of different ages.  This limits the spread of any wildfires later in the year (they go out when they reach country which was burnt in prescribed operations) and, importantly, ensures that the landscape contains patches of vegetation that is old growth (which many animals need for food and shelter).

EcoFire - AWC's award-winning fire management program

Covering 3 million hectares, AWC’s fire management operation in the central Kimberley (EcoFire) is the largest non-government fire management program in Australia.

EcoFire has won several awards, including the WA Environment Award.

In 2014, AWC staff flew more than 28,000 km in helicopters to drop over 60,000 aerial incendiaries across the central Kimberley.

Since 2006, AWC has increased the area of old-growth (ie, unburnt for at least three years) vegetation on Marion Downs from 3% of the property to 28% of the property. 

In the last 5 years, AWC has reduced the proportion of the annual firescar on Mornington-Marion Downs caused by late season fires from over 80% to around 23%.