CONGRATULATIONS to the entire West Arnhem Land
Fire Abatement (WALFA) project team who won the inaugural Eureka
Prize for Innovative Solutions to Climate Change in August. Special
congratulations to the project’s leaders Jeremy Russell-Smith
(TS-CRC and Bushfires NT), Peter Cooke (Wardekken Land Management
Limited) and Traditional Owner Lofty Bardayal Nadjamerrek, AO.
Eureka Prize presentation in Arnhem Land. Left to right: Peter
Biless, Lofty Bardayal Nadjamerrek AO, Lynette Thorstensen (IAG),
Photo: Peter Jacklyn
The project has involved a host of other people including
traditional owners and Indigenous rangers, the Northern Land
Council, Darwin Liquefied Natural Gas, CSIRO, Australian Greenhouse
Office, Landgate and the Northern Territory Department of Natural
Resources, Environment and the Arts.
The WALFA team has spent 10 years developing the program which
aims to abate west Arnhem Land wildfires. In 2000, savanna fires
caused 40% of official greenhouse gas emissions in the Northern
Territory and account for 2–4% of Australia’s total
greenhouse gas emissions. The WALFA scheme has reduced emissions by
the equivalent of more than 256,000 tonnes of CO2.
WALFA uses a ‘Two Tool Kit’ approach because it
employs Indigenous practice and western scientific knowledge to
reduce wildfires. These techniques include cross-cultural planning
and assessment, long cross-country bush walks, burning programs and
sophisticated fire-mapping technology as available on the FireNorth
website, link below. Australian Museum Director Frank Howarth said
that the judges admired the cross-cultural collaboration on the
project and applauded the WALFA team for their innovation and
“We also are thrilled to hear that Indigenous children
have an increased interest in science at school, after seeing
traditional rangers and western scientists work on the
In late September, the Eureka Prize was given to the
Kabulwarnamyo community by the prize sponsors IAG, in a
presentation ceremony in western Arnhem Land.
The West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement (WALFA) Project
The West Arnhem Fire Management Project (WALFA) is a partnership between Darwin Liquefied Natural Gas (DLNG) [read more...
North Australia Fire Information
NAFI: Up-to-date maps and data on fires across northern Australia. Includes hotspots and fire-scars.