- Higher rainfall than other parts of Victoria
- Coastal, mountain and farm communities
- The Otway Ranges are the main geographic feature
- Dense population close to forests and bushland
- Prioritising fuel management within 3 km of high-risk towns
- Planned burning to help prevent major bushfires from reaching priority communities
- Partnering with the community and CFA to manage risk on private land
- Preventing burning in some areas to protect sensitive ecosystems
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 Barwon Otway landscape, residual risk is currently at around 59%.
Residual risk fell sharply in 1983 following the Ash Wednesday bushfires, highlighting that a significant portion of risk in the Barwon Otway area is located in the Eastern Otways.
The level of risk steadily increased between 1983 and through early 2000's due to fuel re-accumulating across the landscape.
Since the mid 2000's, there has been an increased focus on strategic fuel management in the Barwon Otway area, with a targeted program of treatment within two to three kilometres of high risk townships and concentration of burning along the northern slopes of the Otway Ranges. This has resulted in a 20-25% reduction in bushfire risk in this landscape.
Residual risk is projected decrease again to as low as 44% by 2021 as planned burning scheduled in the joint fuel management program is carried out.
Without planned burning, residual risk would increase rapidly to 71% by 2021.
Figure 1: Residual risk profile, Barwon Otway 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.
Current and historic Tolerable Fire Interval and Vegetation Growth Stage Structures for Barwon Otway are available in the Fuel Management Report
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.