This section contains more explanatory and historical material, as well as a glossary of fire management terms. The historical material is especially valuable, since it sets out the experiences of many people who were directly involved in observing bushfires or, carrying out management or research activities.

The earliest European settlers in Australia came up against an environment that was totally strange to them in many respects. One such aspect was the incidence of fire here. To a European fire was an unmitigated disaster, to be avoided at all costs.

Even though it took many years for the general population to accept that things were quite different here, some early observers did look carefully at what the aborigines were doing and were impressed by their skill in handling fire and using it to achieve their management objectives. Aborigines had developed an approach to using fire for many reasons, basically to ensure ongoing food supplies by what has been called “fire stick farming”. This is comprehensively described in Bill Gammage’s book The Biggest Estate on Earth.