Overview

The Loddon Mallee region occupies more than a quarter of Victoria. It has a diverse landscape and a wide range of industries operating across it.

Our planning team is developing a strategic bushfire management strategy which covers both public and private land. The team includes representatives from DELWP, CFA, Parks Victoria and local councils.

The team has used the feedback from community members and stakeholders from the past two years to design a proposed strategic bushfire management plan.


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

By clicking on the links below, you will find detailed information about our chosen objectives, our proposed final fuel management strategy and the expected performance of our strategy. The maps below show how the strategy applies in the landscape.

The current bushfire management strategies were based only on public land. The Victorian State Government (through the Safer Together program) decided that new strategies should be created that cover both public and private land.

To develop the new strategies, we wanted to understand what objectives around fuel management are most important to community members and stakeholders in the Loddon Mallee region. The team ran workshops with agency partners and key stakeholders over a number of months to help understand what was important. These objectives were then tested through the first phase of engagement on Engage Victoria.

Based on feedback from community and stakeholders, the following objectives were set to guide the strategy:

Objectives • Protection of human life • Protection of critical infrastructure • Protection of private property • Protection of local economy • Protection of community cohesion, function and well-being • Protection of environmental values and resilience • Protection of cultural heritage

From these objectives, the team built three strategy options. These were presented for feedback in the second phase of engagement on Engage Victoria. Descriptions of these are:

What is Strategy A? This draft strategy option has been developed with fires starting under the worst possible weather scenario (Black Saturday conditions). Fuel management will mainly occur within national parks and state forests around townships and identified priority assets. In areas with high risk reduction potential fuel reduction activities (burning, slashing or mulching) will be intense and frequent. What is Strategy B? This draft strategy option has been developed with tailored weather scenarios for each local council area in mind. While bushfires at Black Saturday weather conditions will always be most destructive, these events are very rare. Fires under less ferocious conditions might be much more frequent, but still destructive as well. This strategy also considers the likelihood of a bushfire starting at each weather scenario. In addition to focussing on townships and priority assets, this strategy considers access and egress to these areas as well. Ecological values are more prominently reflected in this strategy. What is Strategy C? This draft strategy option builds on draft strategy option B but considers fuel management outside national parks and state forests in addition. Where possible, and only with landowner’s consent, fuel management will be targeted at areas that have the highest risk reduction potential, regardless of land tenure. This strategy also takes access and egress to and from bushfire prone areas into account.

Of the three strategies, the overwhelming preference was for Strategy C. This feedback, along with the ranking of objectives and other comments along the way has described what we should focus on for the new strategy. This includes:

  • reducing the risk from bushfires to human life and property,
  • more fuel management happening on private land and private landholders having a part in this,
  • protecting important infrastructure and looking after local economies,
  • minimising any negative impacts fuel management activities may have on the environment.

Proposed strategy

In the proposed strategy there is overall less planned burning across the entire landscape, because burns are positioned in areas where they achieve the best outcome for bushfire risk reduction.

Bushfire modelling has helped the team to focus on the best areas for effective asset protection and bushfire moderation zoning (APZ and BMZ), which means we can reduce the amount of land previously zoned for these.

Our modelling and data has also allowed us to increase planned burn exclusion zones (PBEZ) to protect valuable habitat and drought refuge areas. The testing has shown us that even though we plan to put less fire into the landscape, we will better protect the things you told us you cared about. In addition, as we will also be working with willing landholders to reduce bushfire fuels on private land to reduce bushfire risk for the community.

This proposed strategy also focuses on improving access and egress through the landscape, to better protect human life in a bushfire event.

Prevention and suppression pilot

In the second phase of engagement on Engage Victoria, we also asked questions about suppression and prevention strategies, which we are piloting as part of our strategy.

We are working on a process which uses the best available science to identify areas where we are least able to stop fires, and where destructive fires are most likely to start. This work will help us identify and develop a range of actions to improve our planning for how to prevent fires from starting and improve how we respond to fires that do start. In time, this will feed in to our strategic bushfire management plan.

You have an option at the end of the survey below to indicate if you want to know more about this work as it progresses.

For more information about the past two phases of engagement, you can read our engagement reports from
Phase 1 and Phase 2. We will also run a separate engagement evaluation survey to get your feedback on this and the previous phases of engagement on Bushfire Management Planning. If you would like to be involved, please tick this option in Q12 below.

The fuel management strategy consists of where Fire Management Zones (FMZ) are placed and how we implement them. The following definitions of Fire Management Zones and Priority Fuel Management Areas (PFMAs) outlines how and why fuel management is undertaken on public and private land in Loddon Mallee.

Priority Fuel Management Areas (PFMA) 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). The Fire Management Zones will show more detail than PFMAs on public land.

Fire Management Zones

Asset Protection Zone (APZ) (red) - Using intensive fuel treatment, APZ areas provide the highest level of localised protection to human life and property and key community assets. The goal of fuel treatment is to reduce radiant heat and ember attacks in the event of a bushfire. The strategy aims to keep fuel hazard below high across all APZ areas at all times.

Bushfire Moderation Zone (BMZ) (orange) - This zone aims to reduce the speed and intensity of bushfires. This zone complements the APZ in that the use of planned burning in the BMZ is designed to protect nearby assets, particularly from ember spotting during a bushfire. The strategy aims to keep fuel hazard below high across half of all BMZ at any point in time.

Landscape Management Zone (LMZ) (green) - Within this zone, planned burning will be used for three broad aims:

  • bushfire protection outcomes by reducing the overall fuel and bushfire hazard in the landscape
  • ecological resilience through appropriate fire regimes
  • management of the land for particular values including forest regeneration and protection of water catchments at a landscape level.

Planned Burning Exclusion Zone (PBEZ) (turquoise) - No planned burning, mainly to protect particular areas that can’t tolerate fire.

To see what our new strategy looks like and how it has changed and improved from the current strategy, see the maps in the slider below.

You can also see our more detailed interactive map. In this map, you have the option of turning on and off layers by clicking on the icon in the top left. You can also zoom in for more detail.

Survey Questions

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.

1. How do you feel about the proposed fuel management strategy? Required
You have 500 characters left.
3. What element of the fuel management strategy most influenced your decision?
4. Having considered the new fuel management strategy and seen the Priority Fuel Management Areas (PFMAs), how likely would you be to reduce bushfire fuels on your own property?
Very unlikely
Unlikely
Reasonably likely
Likely
Very likely
I have no fuels on my property
Please choose the most appropriate answer
5. How likely are you to be involved with fuel management activities in your area to implement this strategy?
Very Unlikely
Unlikely
Reasonably likely
Likely
Very likely
Please choose the most appropriate answer
You have 150 characters left.
7. Implementation of the fuel management strategy will involve fire management agencies local government and communities. Who would you approach to get advice or assist you with fuel management in your area?

Please rank the following options by their level of importance to you from highest to lowest, by dragging from the left-hand column to the right-hand column

  1. Improving suppression (responding to bushfires) #
  2. Preventing ignitions (bushfires starting) #
  3. Improving evacuations #
  4. Pre-planning by agencies to support community recovery after bushfires #
  5. Other (please specify) #
You have 255 characters left.
9. Would you like to be involved in helping us implement aspects of the strategy going forward? Which of the following options would you like to participate in?
10. What is your interest in bushfire management in the Loddon Mallee region
11. How did you find out about this community consultation?
12. Optional: Do you wish to be contacted by us with any further information in the future?

If you tick any of the boxes below please also provide your email address OR you can send your contact details to loddonmalleeSBMP@delwp.vic.gov.au and what you are interested in knowing more about.

Please note that providing an email address will also send you a copy of your submission. If you wish for just a copy and not to receive any further communications, please provide your email address here and do not select any boxes in question 12.

The survey form is now closed. Thanks for your contributions.

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.

Purpose

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.

Forest Fire Management Victoria is providing administrative services to the consultation. FFMVic is part of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (the Department) and submissions will be managed in accordance with the Department’s Information Privacy Policy. The Department’s Information Privacy Policy can be viewed at www2.delwp.vic.gov.au/privacy.

Use of your submission

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.

Phase 1

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 Loddon Mallee Phase 1 Engagement Summary from the Document Library.

This infographic outlines what we heard through the phase one Engage Victoria survey.

Loddon Mallee Phase 1 Engagement Summary Infographic

Phase 2

A summary of what we heard during phase two of our engagement, which sought feedback on strategy options is now available. You can also download or read the full Loddon Mallee Engagement Summary report in our Document Library.

This infographic outlines what we heard through the phase two Engage Victoria survey.

This summary outlines what we heard through the phase two Engage Victoria survey.