Cultural Burning Practices

Fire-Ed Up Scenario 5:

Welcome to the Cultural Burning Practices supplementary page for the stage 5 iSTEM, Fire-Ed Up Unit of Work. This is a resource site setup to support teachers to implement the Fire-Ed Up Program.

Fire-Ed Up is funded by the NSW Office of the Chief Scientist and Engineer, developed from Central Coast Council’s Award Winning program and produced by the Hunter Innovation and Science Hub.

Unit Background –
Australian Fire Danger Rating System

In 2022 Australia introduced a new fire danger rating system providing clearer and more accurate information to communities at risk of bush fire. The Australian Fire Danger Rating System brings together the latest science and knowledge of fire behaviour, is supported by extensive community research, and is the most significant change to the fire danger rating system in more than 50 years.

The previous fire danger rating system was found to be approximately 40% accurate whilst the new reporting system is now more than 60%, but there is room for improvement.

Scenario 5

Cultural Burning Practices: Conceive solutions that combine traditional cultural burning practices with modern fire management strategies, using technology as an enabler.

Combine traditional cultural burning practices with modern fire management

Traditional cultural burning involves controlled burns that are conducted in a way that is symbiotic with the natural ecosystem. These burns help maintain biodiversity, protect plant and animal species, and reduce the fuel load that can lead to larger, uncontrollable wildfires.

Collaboration between Aboriginal Elders and modern fire management professionals is crucial. This collaboration ensures that burns are conducted respectfully and effectively, blending the deep understanding of the land inherent in traditional practices with the precision and safety afforded by modern technology.

Your Mission

Create solutions using technology as an enabler. to combine cultural burning practices with cutting-edge technology.


  • GIS
    Plan and execute burns by providing detailed maps and terrain data alongside traditional knowledge.
  • Drones
    To monitor controlled burns in real-time.
  • Satellite imagery
    Map out fire-prone areas and predict the best times for controlled burns.
  • Bushland resilience
    Different bushland areas require different burn intervals, how do these align with cultural burning practices?

What can you do in your class to find better solutions?

Downloadable Resources

Technology Mandatory – Student Resource Folio

Download the Fire-Ed Up Technology Mandatory student resource folio.

Download Brief Document >>>

NSW RFS Firefighters Pocket Book

The NSW Rural Fire Service Firefighters Pocket Book Dec 2010 edition.

Download PDF >>>

Australian Fire Danger Rating System

Australian fire danger rating system – Fire Behaviour Index Technical Guide V2.1 Oct 2023.

Download PDF >>>

Guidelines for Community (Low Risk) Cultural
Burning on NPWS Managed Lands

This guide is for NPWS staff considering undertaking a community based, low risk, cultural burn or a cultural burn program on NPWS managed lands

Download PDF >>>

Video Based Resources

The following are a mixture of Fire-ED Up original video resources and others that you might find useful.

The ABC visits the far south coast of New South Wales to learn how Indigenous crews across the region are conducting burns to protect valuable pockets of land. Produced in consultation with South Coast Aboriginal Elders, with footage supplied by James Patrick Photography. Thumbnail image by Gilliane Tedder. (3:10 minutes).

A partnership between Gundungarra traditional owners and Wingecarribee Shire Council is bringing back cultural burning practices at Gibbergunyah Reserve, Bowral on Gundungarra Country (1:34 minutes)

On Yuin Country, cultural fire is being reintroduced to protect the habitat of the last known koala population on the NSW far south coast. (3:28 Minutes)


The Thungutti people are working with farmers and the NSW RFS to do cultural burning in preparation for the upcoming bushfire season.  (7:51 Minutes)

Other Resources


What is cultural burning? – Australian Museum

Cultural burning to protect threatened species – NSW Environment & Heritage

Cultural burning: Fighting fire with fire – NEMA

Caring for Country with cultural burning – NEMA

Indigenous cultural burning had less impact than wildfire on the threatened Backwater grevillea (Grevillea scortechinii subsp. sarmentosa) while effectively decreasing fuel loads – CSIRO

Three practical ways to support Indigenous landscape burning in Australia – CSIRO

Dharug women lead work to re-establish cultural burns in Wallumatta – Macquarie University

iTEachSTEM Resources


iTEachSTEM – Orthogonal Sketching 

iTEachSTEM Pictorial Sketching

iTEachSTEM Annotated rendered sketches

iTEachSTEM – Making a Prototype

iTEachSTEM – Iterate and Test

iTEachSTEM – Communicating Design Solutions

Other Resources

Bushfire Survival

Online RFS Bushfire Survival plan

Bushfire Survival Plan PDF version


NSW RFS Firefighter Pocketbook – Android

NSW RFS Firefighter Pocketbook – IOS

Hazards Near Me – Android

Hazards Near Me – IOS


Spatial Information eXchange

NSW Department of Education – Digital Learning Selector



Splat3D – Drawing the core 3D Shapes Playlist

Other Videos

AVA Define and Identify – Dr Nick De Leon from the Royal College of Art