Summary: Cattle producers in the Northern Territory are hopeful that a series of backburns, spanning 160 kilometers, will help bring the massive fire in the Barkly region under control. The fire, which has been burning for about six weeks, has already consumed more than 2.8 million hectares of land. The Barkly Highway, the only road connecting the NT and Queensland, was closed for three days due to the fire conditions. Bushfires NT is leading the efforts to contain the fire and more funding is being called for to support their work.
A massive fire that has been burning for about six weeks in the Barkly region of the Northern Territory has already scorched an area of more than 2.8 million hectares. Cattle producers in the area are now looking to a series of backburns, covering a distance of 160 kilometers, as a potential solution to bring the fire under control. The intention is to stop the fire from spreading from the scrubland into the open plains of the Barkly, which are known for their cattle farming. The fire, while showing signs of slowing down, was still moving east as of Tuesday.
The Barkly Highway, the primary road connecting the Northern Territory and Queensland, was closed for three days due to the dangerous fire conditions. The closure was necessary to ensure the safety of the public. Bushfires NT, the agency responsible for firefighting efforts, has been implementing backburns as part of a strategy to contain the fire. Tony Fuller, the incident controller of Bushfires NT, expressed optimism about the ongoing efforts to control the fire. However, he emphasized the need for additional crews to be deployed to protect properties and ensure the fire is brought under control completely.
Chief Minister Natasha Fyles praised the response by firefighters, volunteers, and pastoralists in combating the fire. She highlighted the collaborative strategy formulated with adjoining pastoral companies to contain the fire effectively. The closure of the Barkly Highway was an important step to facilitate backburning and mitigate the risks associated with the fire. However, Member for Barkly Steve Edgington called for an inquiry into the fire management once the fire season is over. He criticized the government’s decision to remove two key positions from Bushfires NT three and a half years ago, which has had an impact on planning and prevention efforts.
The ongoing fire threat in the Northern Territory has raised concerns about the funding and resources available for Bushfires NT. More than a dozen major fires are currently burning across the region, and it is estimated that over 80% of the jurisdiction will burn before March due to hotter conditions and increased fuel load. Managers of remote properties, such as Suplejack Station, have expressed the need for additional funding to support firefighting efforts. Despite the NT government providing additional funding for Bushfires NT, including the construction of a new headquarters and ongoing funding for aerial firefighting services, calls for more support continue.
Tags: Northern Territory, backburns, Barkly region, fire, Bushfires NT, funding, firefighters, cattle producers, fire management, Barkly Highway