Friday, September 25, 2009

Fire on Fraser Island

As dusk fell today, the glow magically appeared from this fire that has been burning on Fraser Island for a couple of days.    The air has been heavy with the smoke all day, but it was not until evening that we could actually see the fire.  The tiny light across on the right of the fire is car headlights way up along the coast of Fraser Island.

Aborigines used fire to manage vegetation on Fraser Island for thousands of years.  According to the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation (FIDO): "We know that Fraser Island Aborigines used fire by the comments of Captain Cook, who passed along the main beach in the hours of darkness on 18 May 1770. He said, "Our course at night was guided by the great number of fires on the shore". Thus Fraser Island would have had relatively frequent, low intensity burns which would have resulted in a landscape with "a park like appearance". That is the description most early explorers gave to describe the lack of a dense understorey in the Australian bush."

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