- Bushfire season was especially devastating in Australia this past year, burning 46 million acres of land and destroying almost 6,000 buildings.
- Aboriginal groups in Australia believe an ancient tradition of theirs could help the country fight back against bushfires.
- Business Insider Weekly spoke with members of Firesticks, an organization of Indigenous fire practitioners who intentionally set controlled fires on their land to clear grasses and kindling.
- View more episodes of Business Insider Weekly on Facebook.
Fighting fire with fire is more than just an expression.
In the remote bush of northeastern Australia, it’s a way of life that dates back thousands of years.
Long before European colonizers settled in Australia, Aboriginal groups have been setting their own lands ablaze as a fire management technique. They use carefully controlled low flames and the power of the wind to clear grasses and kindling, the materials that fuel more unpredictable blazes during fire season.
Many Indigenous people see their techniques as part of a solution for devastating blazes like the ones that ravaged Australia from September to March. The fires, which peaked in December and January, burnt 46 million acres of land and destroyed nearly 6,000 buildings.
In the state of Queensland, the Indigenous organization Firesticks hosts workshops for people from across the country to spread knowledge of the ancient technique.
“Western knowledge of fire is that they’re afraid of it,” Kylee Clubb, a fire practitioner from Queensland, told Business Insider Weekly. “Whereas traditional burning and Aboriginal knowledge is that we work with it.”
Business Insider Weekly traveled to Queensland in 2019 to speak with three Indigenous fire practitioners and witness the traditional burning many believe could help Australia during future fire seasons.
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