Involving Locals

Each landscape and each community is different. The best decisions are shaped by the people they affect. The new approach will mean communities will get more of a say on how we reduce the risk of bushfire, including where and when planned burning should occur – protecting communities and the things that matter most to them.

Our collective knowledge of bushfire, combined with communities' understanding of what is important, their local knowledge and experience, will inform our actions.

Community First Projects

To improve our communities preparation and response to bushfires, this stream of the Safer Together program:

  • works with local communities to increase their understanding of bushfire risk, and get them involved in the planning for our fuel reduction program
  • boost the skills and capabilities of firefighters to work with communities.

Project 1.1: Build capacity and capability for partnering with the community

This project aims to build the skills and capabilities of firefighters, volunteers and fire managers for different levels of community engagement and community development through common training packages. Three levels of training are available and are being rolled out around the state.

Project 1.2: Community Based Bushfire Management

This project has reviewed guidelines on Community Based Bushfire Management (CBBM) with community feedback to establish best practice engagement and supporting tools based on the initial roll-out of CBBM and lessons learnt. Eight new CBBM Officers have now commenced with DELWP and CFA across the state. They are working with twelve established CBBM communities and ten new communities that have started their CBBM journey under Safer Together.

Project 1.3: Community risk understanding

This project aims to assist communities to understand and manage their bushfire risk. It has a strong focus on interpreting the science and the tools community members may use to see what actions they can take or activities they can get involved in – such as bushfire plans, preparing their properties, establishing CBBM townships and Fire Learning Networks.

Year-Round Planning

As part of our new approach, land and fire agencies will plan together, identify ways to work together with communities and share what they hear from communities with each other. This will ensure that the work that each agency does complements the work of other agencies and the community.

Lots of risk reduction work will still need to be done and you'll be able to get involved in bushfire risk reduction in your local area all year round. Your input will mean the planning that land and fire managers do, how they work together and how they work with you makes us all safer.

What we do

  • Monitor and predict fire weather to help us suppress and patrol fires
  • Use aircraft and fire towers to watch for fires
  • Issue fire danger warnings and advice
  • Maintain critical infrastructure
  • Reduce fuel through planned burns, mulching, slashing
  • Roadside vegetation management
  • Work with agencies to plan for bushfire management
  • Commission bushfire science research
  • Build and maintain fire trails in parks and forests
  • Recruit and train firefighters

What we do together

  • Share information during fire events through channels like community meetings and social media
  • Build an understanding of bushfire risk in our area
  • Develop and implement fire recovery plans
  • Develop plans for protecting what is valued most by local communities
  • Attend community bushfire educations events
  • Create community fire information guides
  • Run bushfire simulations to better understand fire behaviour

What you do

  • Develop and practice your bushfire plan and share with others
  • Full extinguish camp fires
  • Keep up to date wiht weather and fire danger warnings
  • Work with your community to recover from bushfire events
  • Review how your bushfire plan worked in Summer
  • Share your bushfire knowledge and experience with new residents
  • Get to know your local emergency services personnel
  • Join a community Fire Guard group
  • Prepare your property by mulching, slashing, clearing gutters, checking pumps

Community Conversations

Community conversations are happening about bushfire risk and the actions communities and agencies can take to reduce it.

Mount Macedon

Community members, business owners and DELWP staff share their experiences of being involved, and involving, local people in the planning process around planned burning, to help reduce bushfire risk and minimise disruption to local communities

Fire Game

Community members, as well as representatives from Surf Coast Shire and DELWP, share their experiences of The Fire Game, its development and use, and explain how bushfire simulations support emergency scenarios that are delivered in conjunction with the game.

Port Phillip

Staff from DELWP, the CFA, and Melbourne Water discuss the importance of understanding bushfire risk, and working together to ensure that critical infrastructure is better protected from bushfire.

DELWP worked with power providers, water agencies, the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources and the CFA to use information from industry natural hazard contingency plans and better incorporate key power and water infrastructure into the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan.

The St Andrews Conversations snapshot

St. Andrews conversations are led by Nillumbik Council in partnership with DELWP and the St Andrews community. This pilot project demonstrates how powerful dialogue can be in shifting  the way we undertake community-based disaster preparedness and emergency management; positioning government agencies as learners alongside the community, building a sense of team, and fostering shared responsibility.

Bushfire Fuel Management Guide

The Bushfire Fuel Management Guide has been developed by the Southern and Eastern Metro Fuel Management Working group to assist communities in collaboration with land and fire management agencies and local governments, to protect their towns from bushfires.

It provides practical information and a decision making framework to plan the management of bushfire fuels on public and private land in and around towns and settlements. The Word template can assist with preparing town specific bushfire fuel management plans and information packs for residents.

Bushfire Fuel Management Guide (PDF, 1.3 MB)

Bushfire Fuel Management Guide  (DOCX, 15.5 MB)

Bushfire Fuel Management Plan template (DOCX, 2.2 MB)

What does this mean for me?

The new approach doesn't change the responsibilities of our different agencies, but there will be a greater emphasis on agencies working together. There will be a focus on coordinated fuel management across public and private land and there will be more involvement of CFA brigades in fuel management across public/private land

The new approach will mean greater emphasis on local communities being involved in bushfire management and a focus on agencies talking collectively with communities about bushfires. Over time, bushfire modelling will become more available to support local community discussion about how to manage bushfires.

To find out more about bushfire risk in your area click on your local bushfire risk landscape below or find your landscape

The new approach will mean greater opportunities to talk about bushfire management across the whole of country and the impact on cultural heritage, the environment and connection to country. 

It will also mean involvement of Traditional Owners in bushfire management and drawing on traditional knowledge about fire to improve practices.

The new approach means we will be doing more to reduce the risk of bushfire, and being more effective in how we do it. Planned burning in and around towns will continue to be a key strategy for reducing bushfire risk and protecting lives and property. The government is investing in predictive modelling of smoke and research to better understand its health impacts.

Page last updated: 25/02/20