Ned Kater
Product Design Engineering BSc
Waru: Wildfire Prevention
Picture of current MIB team

Project Description

Aboriginal people in North America and Australia have been practicing cultural burning for over 50,000 years, perfecting the ability to reduce fuel loads in a way that benefits native flora and fauna. Waru is the Aboriginal name given to “cultural burns”, these are low-intensity fires that burn through a landscape, removing dead leaves and grass and stimulating native plants to germinate. This reduction in fuel load can completely eliminate the risk of wildfires during subsequent dry seasons. Utilising the versatility of automated drone systems, Waru provides a service to landowners, removing the costs usually involved in Aboriginal land management by marrying traditional techniques with modern technology. Waru drops small, biodegradable ignition pellets that initiate self-sustaining, low-intensity burns in hard to access locations, which then can be remotely monitored as they burn through an environment. Waru is designed to re-introduce cultural burning on a large, cost-effective scale, encouraging greater acceptance and incorporation of Aboriginal culture in modern land management and wider society.