• Located in south west Victoria, Budj Bim was recognised for its sophisticated aquaculture system. (Supplied/Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation )Source: Supplied/Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation
Fire fighters in Victoria's western districts battle blaze to protect UNESCO World Heritage-listed cultural landscape.
Madeline Hayman-Reber

6 Jan 2020 - 4:12 PM  UPDATED 6 Jan 2020 - 4:12 PM

Traditional Owners have praised the work of fire fighters who brought a bushfire burning across the Budj Bim cultural landscape site under control.

Gunditjmara man Denis Rose said the firefighters did "a great job" responding to the blaze and he that he expects the damage to be minimal across the internationally-recognised landscape.

“The fire authorities did extremely well. We acknowledge them and congratulate them for their work on the lava flow. It’s a very difficult area to undertake fire suppression. It’s full of lava rock and its very inaccessible country,” Mr Rose told NITV News on Monday.

“Because of the importance of the cultural heritage sites – we have a fish trap with a scientifically accepted date of construction to be 6,600 years ago – we prefer not to have earth moving machinery such as bulldozers and graters.

"So, the fire authorities were very good in making sure our wishes were adhered to.”

Mr Rose said that when the fire is over and the roads have been reopened he will head out to assess the site.

"We certainly know that they’ve burnt a number of areas, stone fish traps and the stone house site, so the good news is that fire, which has been part of the landscape for many thousands of years, doesn’t affect the rock of course," Mr Rose said.

"It’d have little impact on the rock, but there might be some work we need to do on the trees that may have got damaged and they may be at risk of toppling over if they’re near the stone sites."

Relatively mild weather conditions meant the fires could quickly be contained, and for that Mr Rose said the community had been very fortunate, but emphasised that the fires "were nowhere near the severity" of those in East Gippsland or the South Coast of New South Wales.

"There’s still a couple that aren’t contained, but hopefully we have a couple of days to get it under control before the hot change comes through around Friday."

Lake Condah and Condah Mission were not directly affected by the fires over the weekend, however, as of Monday afternoon an advice message was issued by Vic Emergency asking residents to plan accordingly in case the situation changes.

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