- A quarter of Victoria's population
- Expanding communities increase demand for isolated lifestyle properties
- Large population close to forested areas
- Diverse ecological values including Box Ironbark and the Bellarine Peninsula Ramsar wetlands
- Only a third of the landscape is treatable by planned burning
- Fuel management undertaken for the greatest risk reduction for priority communities and infrastructure
- Planned burning more intensely around communities that are at high risk like Daylesford-Hepburn Springs area
- Slashing on small isolated parcels of public land which are impractical to burn
You can help to reduce bushfire risk in your community. To get involved in strategic bushfire management planning in the West Central landscape, join the newsletter mailing list or email email@example.com
Strategic Bushfire Management Planning
We have developed a strategic bushfire management planning framework that, with the help of communities, identifies values to be protected from bushfire, assesses bushfire risk to those values and sets out strategies to manage this risk.
So far we have developed strategies to manage fuel on public land, and our framework allows us to extend this to private land. Our robust and community-centred approach means that over time we can progressively develop other strategies beyond fuel management, to reduce bushfire risk in partnership with communities.
DELWP and Parks Victoria have released the first generation of strategic bushfire management plans – describing our approach to bushfire fuel management on public land in Victoria.
In 2016, we will commence the second generation plans, involving communities in developing strategies to manage bushfire fuels across public and private land – bringing together local knowledge and values with world-leading bushfire science and modelling capability.
The residual risk curve tells a story about how bushfires, recovering fuels after bushfires and our fuel management activities, affect the changing levels of bushfire risk across the landscape over time.
Within the West Central BRL, residual risk is currently at around 70%.
Residual risk peaked in 2002 and has steadily declined since then. This is mainly due to an increase in the level of planned burning, particularly in high-risk areas of the landscape.
Residual risk is projected to continue to decrease over the next three years as planned burning scheduled in the fire operations plan is carried out. Without planned burning, residual risk would rapidly return to over 85% by 2018.
Understanding the impact of fire on ecosystems requires first being able to define and measure ecosystem resilience. Tolerable Fire Interval (TFI) and Vegetation Growth Stage Structure (GSS) are used as indicators of ecosystem resilience at a landscape level. These allow us to better understand ecosystem resilience and the impacts of fire.
Within the West Central BRL, around 25% of vegetation on public land is currently below minimum TFI.
In 2014/15, less than one percent of vegetation on public land was burnt by bushfire or planned burning while below minimum TFI, equating to no more than around 1% of any vegetation type.
The area of the landscape below minimum TFI decreased from 1991 through to 2010. This is partly a reflection of an absence of large-area bushfires in this period. Due to the fragmented nature of vegetation in the landscape, even bushfires with significant impacts to property and life are not large in area.
In the last decade, the area of vegetation below minimum TFI has increased to over 25%. The recent rise in the area of the landscape below minimum TFI corresponds to increased levels of planned burning.
A large proportion of this landscape has no recorded fire history. It should not be assumed that these areas are above the minimum TFI. The long, significant history of disturbance within these areas (due to the gold rush, forestry, etc.) means that many of these areas are still regenerating.