International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire

Manager-based valuations of alternative fire management regimes on Cape York Peninsula, Australia

Adam G. Drucker A E , Stephen T. Garnett A F , Marty K. Luckert B F , Gabriel M. Crowley A C F and Niilo Gobius D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School for Environmental Research, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia.

B Department of Rural Economy, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2H1, Canada.

C Tropical Savannas Cooperative Research Centre, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia.

D Cape York Peninsula Development Association, Cairns, QLD 4875, Australia.

E Corresponding author. Email:

F Authors contributed equally to the paper.

International Journal of Wildland Fire 17(5) 660-673
Submitted: 26 July 2007  Accepted: 27 February 2008   Published: 3 October 2008


Decisions about fire management on pastoral properties are often made with little empirical knowledge. Proper accounting of the interactions between land, pasture, trees and livestock within the context of climatic variability and market conditions is required in order to assess financial implications of alternative fire management regimes. The present paper aims to facilitate such accounting through the development of a manager-driven decision-support tool. This approach is needed to account for variable property conditions and to provide direction towards considering optimal practices among a vast array of potential activities. The tool is an interactive model, developed for a hypothetical property, which analyses the costs and benefits of a baseline (no fires) against a historically based probability of wildfire overlaid by four alternative fire management regimes, representing cumulatively increasing levels of fire management intensity. These are: Regime 1, no action taken to prevent or stop wildfires; Regime 2, fire suppression (reactive fighting of wildfire); Regime 3, Regime 2 plus prevention (early dry-season burning); and Regime 4, Regime 3 combined with storm-burning (burning soon after the first wet-season storm). The model, which shows that fire and fire management have significant influences on the gross margin of Cape York Peninsula cattle properties, can be used as a decision-support tool in developing fire management strategies for individual properties. Specific fire management recommendations follow, together with the identification of potential areas of future work needed to facilitate use of the tool by clients.


We would like to thank the large group of pastoralists from all over CYP who gave freely of their knowledge at the interactive workshop in order to help create the model described in the present paper. Tom and Sue Shephard of Artemis Station were, as ever, enormously generous in hosting the workshop in their home. Landcare coordinators Wendy Seabrook and Sandy Lloyd helped organise the workshop, Joe Miller was an excellent facilitator and Joe Rolfe and Bill Holmes, Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Peter Thompson, Cape York Peninsula Development Association, and Mandy Trueman, Cooperative Research Centre for Tropical Savanna Management, also made substantial contributions. Grant Williamson and Gillian Armstrong from Charles Darwin University were a great help in final preparation of the data and the manuscript.


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