- Higher annual temperature
- Mix of agricultural, grazing and bush
- Vast region with large Mallee parks
- Small population, living largely in safe rural cities
- Dry landscape with mix of growth stages, with much native vegetation dependant on fire to regenerate
- Large strategic fire breaks in northern Mallee parks to stop small fires from becoming large bushfires
- Fuel reduction on edge of Mallee parks near communities
- Planned burning to reduce fuel in large areas of public land
- Planned burning undertaken for risk reduction and ecological resilience objectives
Within the Mallee Murray Goulburn landscape, residual risk is currently at around 58%. Most of the risk within the landscape arises from private farming land and small parcels of vegetation, where it is more difficult to manage fuels.
Between 1980 and 2010 residual risk was stable at around 72%.
Since 2010, residual risk has decreased sharply due to an increased level of planned burning around larger, high risk communities, such as Inglewood and Rushworth.
Residual risk has been increasing since 2014, and is projected to rise to about 66% by 2020.
Figure 1: Residual risk profile, Mallee and Murray Goulburn 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 Mallee Murray Goulburn landscape, around 35% of vegetation on public land is currently below minimum TFI.
In 2014/15, less than one percent of vegetation on public land was burnt by bushfire or planned burning while below minimum TFI.
Over the past decade, the area of vegetation in the landscape below minimum TFI has steadily increased.
The Big Desert Bushfire of 2002/03, the Southern Sunset Bushfire of 2007 and the Lake Albacutya-Wyperfeld Bushfire in 2014 burnt a combined total of 261,000 hectares within the Mallee region of the landscape. As a result, large areas of vegetation have been below minimum TFI for the past decade. Regular, large bushfires in the Little Desert have also added to the area of vegetation below minimum TFI.
Tolerable Fire Interval: Mallee and Murray Goulburn
Growth Stage Structure: Mallee and Murray Goulburn
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.