Fire blazing at Nitmiluk could have been deliberately lit | Video

By Roxanne Fitzgerald
Updated January 30 2019 - 4:13pm, first published October 10 2018 - 4:28pm
AERIAL VIEW:  Footage of the fire captured from a helicopter. Picture: Jawoyn Association.
AERIAL VIEW: Footage of the fire captured from a helicopter. Picture: Jawoyn Association.

Rangers have been working overtime with Bushfires NT and Kakadu National Park to contain a raging bushfire on the Nitmiluk and Kakadu park boundaries, after it broke out over a week ago.

Just 100 kms from Katherine, the hot weather and high winds have fanned the flames, which has so far incinerated 10,000 hectares of bush. 

This fire is believed to have been deliberately lit.

More than 15 Jawoyn Rangers and NT Parks and Wildlife Rangers have been working day and night to prevent the blaze from spreading from the northern end of Nitmiluk National Park into Kakadu.

Jawoyn Association land manager Scott Herring has been on the ground since the fire broke out. 

“At this stage tourists and infrastructure are safe, but the damage is going to be in terms of significant country being burned,” Mr Herring said. 

“It has covered a fair bit of land even though we have been fighting it for a week now. It just keeps going,” he said. 

Mr Herring along with other rangers is today implementing a 15 kilometre fire break in the hopes of finally controlling the blaze. 

“This fire has forced all hands on deck,” Mr Herring said.

“Despite the tough conditions, the inter-agency coordination has been outstanding and we’re all focused on stopping the fire from moving into Kakadu and onto the Arnhem Land plateau.

RAGING FIRE: Rangers are hopeful conditions improve as they battle a wildfire raging on the Nitmiluk and Kakadu park boundaries. Picture: Jawoyn Association.
RAGING FIRE: Rangers are hopeful conditions improve as they battle a wildfire raging on the Nitmiluk and Kakadu park boundaries. Picture: Jawoyn Association.

“We’re lucky the wildfire hasn't put homes and lives in danger to date, but it’s tough to see Nitmiluk take such a battering.”

Firefighting in remote areas takes special equipment, where crews have to cross tough terrain in vehicles or be flown in helicopters.

There are a number of 4WDs, a water tanker, grader and one helicopter working at the fire front.

NT Parks and Wildlife Ranger Aaron Ledgard said the crew is putting in significant effort to minimise the damage to the environment. 

“It’s vital we work together as fires this wild do major damage to the environment,” Mr Ledgard said.

“This is also the second year of our carbon farming program in Nitmiluk and we want to limit the loss of carbon credits as a result of the fire.”

With the build-up weather refusing to show signs of cooling down, the joint forces are expected to continue fighting the blaze today and tomorrow. 

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