Our approach

Firesticks is a national Indigenous network that empowers communities to protect and enhance Country and wellbeing by reviving Cultural knowledge practices. Through mentoring, training, and advocacy, we are demonstrating the value of Indigenous land management and knowledge systems. We have supported 35 communities over 10 years to restore the cultural wellbeing and identity of their Country, while battling climate change and environmental disorder. Communities across the nation are leading the way in managing their own regions through Cultural Fire, providing opportunities for future generations.

The Knowledge Triangle is a trademark symbol of Firesticks with origins in ancestral systems from many Indigenous nations and individuals, including but not limited to Kuku Thaypan Elders, Musgrave and George families and Victor Steffensen.

For tens of thousands of years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have managed Country with fire, using fire sticks to light carefully timed burns in the right places to enhance the health of the land and its people.

This includes burning of Country for the health of particular plants and animals such as native grasses, emu, black grevillea, potoroo, bushfoods, threatened species or biodiversity in general. It may involve patch burning to create different fire intervals across the landscape or it could be used for fuel and hazard reduction. Fire may be used to gain better access to Country, clean up important pathways, maintain cultural responsibilities and as part of cultural heritage management. 

Indigenous peoples have the skills to care for Country. We all benefit when Indigenous knowledge systems are valued and Indigenous peoples lead natural resource management.

When Australia was invaded over 230 years ago, many Traditional Custodians were taken off Country and were unable to practice Cultural Burning openly. This has been devastating for plants, animals and people. Country has become sick with invasive species. Heavy fuel loads have led to increasingly catastrophic bushfires. Communities have been separated from the places where their ceremonies and culture come alive. Western burning practices, though well-intentioned, have often contributed to further damage to the Country by lighting hazard-reduction fires that are too hot, lit at the wrong time and in the wrong place.

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“Country is the boss. It tells us what to do and always comes first. Our responsibility is to the Country.”

Leeton Lee
Thungutti, Bundjalung and Mualgal Lead Fire Practitioner

Awabakal Country | Credit: Saskia Wilson

We are guided by three key principles:




We have a strong vision for the future

As the importance of Cultural Fire becomes increasingly recognised, Firesticks is focused on facilitating the development of a strong national network of professional Cultural Fire practitioners who are fully trained, accredited, certified and well-resourced to practice Cultural Fire across the nation.

More about our mentoring program

“The Firesticks Alliance exists to support communities to run their own businesses, to burn their own Country, to manage their own landscapes. Firesticks also exists to work with the government and to help the broader community connect with traditional fire knowledge.”

Victor Steffensen
Tagalaka man and Co-founder of Firesticks

Jess Wegener with son Malachai on Awabakal Country
Awabakal Country | Firesticks Learning and Mentoring Coordinator Jess Wegener with son Malachi Credit: Saskia Wilson

We pay our respect to the Kuku Thaypan Elders who passed their cultural and ecological knowledge onto 
Victor Steffensen, Co-founder of Firesticks, setting him on his life’s journey to revive and practice Cultural Fire.

“The knowledge is in the landscape. The Elders have not passed. The land is an Elder too.”

Victor Steffensen
Tagalaka man and Co-founder of Firesticks