- Mountains to flat floodplains
- Forested water catchment areas which provide almost 40% of the inflows into the Murray darling system
- Part of the 'food bowl' of Australia
- Major settlements are along the Hume Freeway
- Ecosystems include alpine forest, grassy woodlands, and floodplains
- Intensely managing fuel on public land close to towns
- Fuel management to stop fires spreading to communities in the Alpine and Greater Gippsland Landscape
- Fuel management to protect critical assets, as well as nationally significant water catchment areas and fire sensitive vegetation
- Maintaining forest roads and river tracks for quick response to bushfires
- Planned burning north and west of communities along the likely spread paths of bushfires
- Fire-sensitive species and vegetation guide the frequency of burning
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 Alpine North East bushfire risk landscape, residual risk is currently at around 55%.
Over the last few decades, residual risk has fallen sharply in response to several large bushfires close to townships. These bushfires include the Mt Buffalo Bushfire of 1985, the Alpine Bushfires of 2003, and the Great Divide Bushfires of 2006/07.
Following the Great Divide bushfires, planned burning kept residual risk at around the 40% level for five years.
In recent years residual risk has been increasing more rapidly as fuels re-accumulate in areas burnt by the 2006/07 bushfires.
Over the next three years, planned burning is projected to reverse this trend, with a decrease in residual risk by 10 to 15% from current levels. Without planned burning, residual risk will rapidly increase to 72% by 2020.
Figure 1: Residual risk profile, Alpine and North East BRL, 1980–2020
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 Alpine North East landscape, around 70% of vegetation on public land is currently below its minimum TFI.
In 2014/15 around 5 percent of vegetation on public land was burnt by bushfire or planned burning while below minimum TFI.
Over the past decade, the overall trend in TFI status has been one of large and increasing areas being below minimum TFI. This is mainly due to the impacts of large bushfires. These bushfires include the Alpine bushfire of 2003, the Great Divide bushfires of 2006/7 and the Harrietville bushfire of 2013. Owing to the relatively long timeframes required for the affected vegetation types to reach minimum TFI, this trend will continue for some time.
Increased levels of planned burning have also contributed to the recent rise in the area below minimum TFI.
Tolerable Fire Interval: Alpine and North East
Growth Stage Structure: Alpine and North East
Strategic Bushfire Management Planning
Strategic bushfire management planning is about bringing together land and fire managers, communities and stakeholders to develop a common understanding of bushfire risk across the landscape and determine the most appropriate management strategies and actions to reduce that risk.
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.
The first generation Strategic Bushfire Management Plans, released in 2015 described our approach to bushfire fuel management on public land.
We are now working on new strategies to manage fuels across public and private land, bringing together local knowledge and values with world-leading bushfire science and modelling capability. For more information about the Strategic Bushfire Management Planning process and how to get involved, see the Strategic Bushfire Management Planning page