Click to learn more.

THE BURN! Putting in a Firebreak at Cobourg Coastal Camp

Posted on 27 July, 2016 in Cobourg, Arnhem Land, Environment


All guests who choose to book Venture North's feature small-group tour; the 5 Day Kakadu, Arnhem Land and Cobourg Peninsula Tour spend 3 nights at the remote Cobourg Coastal Camp. 

For guest’s safety and to preserve the infrastructure, an annual burn around the perimeter of the camp is essential. This firebreak provides a barrier between the camp and any rogue hot fires which can occur during the dry season if menacing undergrowth is allowed to accumulate.

At the camp there are eight eco-tents which are strategically dotted amongst the natural flora near the cliff edge and overlook the pristine waters of Port Essington. Other infrastructure at the camp includes; three eco-toilets, three solar hot-water showers, a communal dining/lounge shelter, shed and staff quarters. 

Early last week, whilst there were no guests at camp and conditions were suitable, three rangers from Black Point Ranger’s Station assisted Venture North’s staff with the burn. All were nominated jobs included igniting the under growth (the most sought after position as normally one isn’t allowed to burn the bush!), controlling the water tank and hose, raking any runaway embers and directing the leaf blower to either entice the speed of the burn or blow out flames around tree trunks. It is regarded as a slow cool burn and environmentally friendly.


After slowing burning for about 24 hours we received an unseasonable storm which put the fire out completely. Fortunately it had already burnt a big enough area to adequately protect the camp for another year.

For years Aboriginal people have also burnt the bush for various reason such as:

  • to hunt
  • to promote new grass which attracted game
  • to make the country easier to travel through
  • to clear country of spiritual pollution after death
  • to create firebreaks for later in the dry season and a variety of other reasons which overall bring the country alive again

However today, many a match is flicked by uncaring travellers and the landscape is set ablaze. To combat this, ecological integrity is practiced by Park Rangers as they undertake controlled mosaic burnings. Their aim is to prevent hot wild fires which can run out of control and burn precious flora, fauna, infrastructure and assets of communities. With controlled planned burning, alternate areas are burnt therefore preventing a build-up of tinder dry under growth which fuels wild fires. Cool planned burns protect trees, encourages new growth and provide unburnt areas for animals to flee to.

Just another fascinating day as camp host, Arnhem Land!