Based on recommendations of a review led by the Inspector-General for Emergency Management, the Victorian Government has adopted a new approach to fuel management and bushfire risk reduction. This approach focuses on how effective actions are in reducing risk, not just the number of hectares burnt or modified. It also means thinking about both public and private land, with closer cooperation between CFA, Parks Victoria, DELWP, councils and land owners to help protect the things that matter most to our communities.
A new bushfire management strategy for Barwon South West has been developed. Our planning process will help determine where risk reduction activity such as planned burning takes place, as well as how often and how much land is burnt or modified.
Phase Three Engagement Summary Now Available
Please see the Phase Three report in the Document Library, which outlines the quantitative and qualitative summary of the community feedback received during phase three of our engagement.
Regional strategies will be finalised and made available in October 2019.
Phase 3 Engagement
The Proposed Final Strategy
With the assistance of fire scientists, and input from the community and partner agencies, we developed a range of draft fuel management strategies. During phase two of the engagement process, we asked the community and stakeholders to tell us which strategy they preferred. Each of the draft strategies had different impacts on the things the community said were important.
Here is a summary of what we have heard throughout all the engagement conversations and how this information has informed our approach to prepare the final proposed strategy. You can also download our engagement summary reports from Phase 1 and Phase 2.
During phase one, the community told us the most important things to protect and preserve were the following values:
- human life
- human health and well-being
- the natural environment
- Aboriginal cultural heritage
- critical infrastructure
- private property
- regional economies.
We translated these into objectives for what we want to achieve and can measure through our bushfire management strategy. These are:
- Protection for human life.
- Protection for private property.
- Protection for Aboriginal cultural heritage sites.
- Protection for critical services (power supply and telecommunications).
- Protection for mental health and well-being.
- Protection for plantation industry.
- Protection for agriculture industry.
- Protection for endangered native animals.
- Protection for the South-eastern Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo.
Our community also told us roadside vegetation was of special interest and we continue to work on a pilot project with experts from the University of Melbourne to better understand how roadside vegetation management affects bushfire risk.
We are now at the stage where we are selecting the final fuel management strategy. The strategy meets key objectives such as providing protection for human life by focusing our fuel management activity on protecting townships. The strategy achieves other objectives such as protecting the regional economy by burning targeted areas within the forest to slow the rate of spread of fire.
The strategy includes a range of fuel management actions such as planned burning (including cool burning and mosaic burning) and mulching.
The fuel management strategy is a long term guide for fire agencies to reducing bushfire risk through managing fuels. It uses Fire Management Zones (FMZ) on public land and Priority Fuel Management Areas (PFMAs) on public and private land to identify areas of land where fuel treatment will impact on bushfire risk and other values like endangered species and infrastructure assets.
Fire Management Zones articulate how much and what type of fuel management will take place in that area, as well as how often the fuel management activity will take place. Each of the four FMZs differs in its intended fuel treatment aims and associated performance measures:
- Asset Protection Zone (red) - Aim to reduce fuel through planned burning or other methods approximately every 5 to 7 years.
- Bushfire Moderation Zone (orange) - Aim to reduce fuel through planned burning or other methods approximately every 8 to 15 years. Length of time between planned burns in some areas can vary due to ecological considerations.
- Landscape Management Zone (green) - Planned burning will focus on maintaining and improving ecosystem resilience, and fuel management will also be undertaken for risk reduction.
- Planned Burning Exclusion Zone (turquoise) - No planned burning, mainly to protect particular areas that can’t tolerate fire.
Priority Fuel Management Areas show where bushfire fuel treatments will most effectively reduce long-term bushfire risk to communities. Bushfire fuels include anything that can burn in a bushfire, such as dried grass, shrubs, branches, sticks, bark and leaf litter. Bushfire fuel treatments can include activities such as slashing, physical removal, grazing, mulching and planned burning. The choice of treatment will depend on the area’s risk, vegetation types, land use, community preferences and other values that are important. Not all land within PFMAs can or should be treated. Fuel treatments planned as part of PFMA implementation can only occur with the landowner’s consent. Treatments may be carried out by an individual landowner, a community planning together, and/or fire agencies such as the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic). More information of PFMAs is available in our frequently asked questions (FAQs).
To model the effectiveness of each strategy option we used a combination of measures. These included looking at performance against:
- house losses,
- level of protection for townships,
- rates of slowing the spread of fire within the forest.
We have also tested and modelled multiple fuel management strategies for outcomes to the South-eastern Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo, as this particular species is in danger of becoming extinct. Our region is its only habitat in South Eastern Australia and research shows that older forest provides more food than younger forest.
In selecting a fuel management strategy for Barwon South West, we have favoured a strategy that provides balanced across all outcomes. This reflects what our community told us was important, and also meets a range of regulatory requirements and international standards for risk management.
The table below shows the performance of the strategy we selected.
In this final phase of engagement, we have shown our proposed fuel management strategy on the map below. You can also download our maps to see them in more detail.
We would like to hear your thoughts about our fuel management strategy. Your feedback will be helpful to understand how well our strategy reflects community expectations and help to inform future work as we move into implementation.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is committed to protecting personal information provided by you in accordance with the principles of the Victorian privacy laws.
This Privacy Collection Statement relates to all submissions collected in relation to the strategic bushfire management planning process being conducted across Victoria. Agencies involved in fire management across Victoria have been charged with undertaking a strategic planning process to guide bushfire management actions on public and private land into the future. The agencies involved in this process are Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic), CFA, Local Government and Parks Victoria.
The information you provide will be made available to the Strategic Bushfire Management Planning Teamsinvolved in the planning process, including representatives from FFMVic, CFA, Local Government and Parks Victoria.
This consultation is intended to give the community an opportunity to be involved in the strategic bushfire management planning process by providing information that informs the development of bushfire management strategies across Victoria. The consultation will be conducted in three phases:
- Phase 1: Strategic planning objectives
- Phase 2: Fire management strategies and actions
- Phase 3: Feedback on final results of planning process
If you freely and voluntarily provide any sensitive information under the Act in your submission DELWP will consider that provision to be consent to collect the information and will then protect it under the Information Privacy Principles in the Act. Sensitive information is information relating to racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, membership of a political association or trade association/union, religious or philosophical beliefs or affiliations, sexual preference or criminal record.
You have the right to access and correct your personal information about you that is held by DELWP. Requests for access should be sent to the Manager Privacy, P.O. Box 500 East Melbourne 3002.
Results of Past Engagement
We have undertaken a number of engagement phases for our strategic bushfire management planning process. You can read an overall summary of what we heard and what we did with it the feedback from community and stakeholders in the phase 3 tab. See below for more information about each phase and to download detailed summary reports.
A summary of what we heard during phase one of our engagement, which sought feedback on regional objectives. You can also download or read the full Barwon South West Engagement Summary report from the Document Library.
This infographic outlines what we heard through the phase one Engage Victoria survey.
Our planning process has been informed by collaborative work previously done with Colac Otway, Surf Coast and Corangamite shires, and with the Western Borders Stakeholder Reference Group. We have built on the values and objectives established through previous processes and our engagement strategy has tested what we already know; encompassing new ideas from a wider range of stakeholders across the region and considering the different grassland and forested landscapes.
Responsive to the concerns of our communities, DELWP is working with the University of Melbourne to conduct predictive fire modelling to understand the effects of reducing roadside fuel loads, and what that might mean for private land, critical infrastructure assets, habitat, and townships and smaller settlements. In this pilot work, we are focusing on ignition risk, strategic fire breaks for fire agencies; and access and egress.
There are other stakeholder and community engagement activities underway. We have held workshops with stakeholders from Landcare, local government, fire and land management agencies, Regional Roads Victoria, Vision Australia, Regional Development Victoria, Aboriginal Victoria and Birdlife Australia.
We also engaged an independent social researcher who conducted a postal survey of households and several focus groups in the rural parts of the far west of the region. The postal survey received more than six hundred responses.
A summary of what we heard during phase two of our engagement, which sought feedback on strategy options. You can also download or read the full Barwon South West Engagement Summary in our Document Library.
This infographic outlines what we heard through the phase two Engage Victoria survey.