Characteristics

  • Residential and agriculture
  • Water and power infrastructure for Melbourne
  • 59% of Victoria's population
  • Half of people live in peri-urban areas
  • Home to iconic Leadbeater's Possum and Helmeted Honeyeater

Fuel Management

  • Intensive fuel management close to communities and valuable plantations
  • Fuel management adjacent to wet forests which cannot be burnt
  • Excluding burning in areas to protect ecosystem values
  • Working with communities to manage fuel on private land

Bushfire Risk

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 East Central landscape, residual risk is currently at around 76%.

Residual risk fell sharply in 1983 following the Ash Wednesday bushfires and again in 2009 following the Black Saturday Bushfires, reaching less than 40% in 2010.

Since 2009, residual risk has been steadily increasing due to fuel re-accumulating across the landscape. Fuel management activities are projected to stabilise residual risk at around 77-79%, but without planned burning residual risk will continue to rise, to a projected 84% by 2020.

East Central has several major towns that adjoin land that is not treatable by planned burning. Therefore planned burning has limited affect for reducing bushfire risk to these towns, and other activities such as community education and mechanical works must play an important role.

Residual risk

Figure 1: Residual risk profile, East Central BRL, 1980–2020

Environmental Metrics

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.

Map of Tolerable Fire Interval 2015 [PDF File - 579.5 KB]

Map of Growth Stage Structure 2015 [PDF File - 569.3 KB]

Within the East Central landscape, around 60% of vegetation on public land is currently below minimum TFI.

In 2014/15, around one percent of vegetation on public land was burnt by bushfire or planned burning while below minimum TFI.

For the period 1991–2008, the proportion of the landscape below minimum TFI remained fairly constant, at around 35%.  This increased to around 60% following the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires, as areas that were within their TFI were converted to below minimum TFI.

Tolerable Fire Interval: East Central

Growth Stage Structure: East Central

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.

Download a summary of the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan [PDF File - 1.9 MB]
Download a summary of the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan [MS Word Document - 23.0 KB]

Download the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan [PDF File - 3.2 MB]
Download the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan [MS Word Document - 3.0 MB]

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