Characteristics

  • Agriculture, manufacturing and tourism
  • High proportion of private land
  • Dispersed population
  • Public land is fragmented
  • Woodlands, forests, grasslands, coasts and sandstone ranges

Fuel Management

  • Mosaic burning to protect vulnerable species
  • Fuel reduction breaks to prevent fires jumping across large forest areas
  • Planned burning near communities next to the Grampians National Park where bushfires can create major convection columns
  • Working with CFA and landowners to coordinate fuel management

Bushfire Risk

Within the South West landscape, residual risk is currently at around 53%.

Residual risk fell sharply following the 2006 Mt Lubra Bushfire in the Grampians and has continued to gradually decline due to planned burning and more recent bushfires.

Residual risk has begun to increase in recent years as fuel re-accumulates in fire-affected areas.

Residual risk is projected to decrease to 46-49% as planned burning scheduled in the fire operations plan is carried out, but without planned burning the risk will return to 60% by 2020.

Residual risk

Figure 1: Residual risk profile, South Western 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.

Within the South West landscape, around 40% 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 below minimum TFI has increased from over 10% in 2004 to nearly 40% in 2015. This increase has been driven by major bushfires in the Grampians (Mt Lubra in 2006, Victoria Valley in 2013, Northern Grampians in 2014) and the west of the landscape (Casterton in 2006 and 2012, and Kentbruck in 2012), as well as an increased level of planned burning across the landscape.

Due to the large bushfires in the Grampians National Park, there are currently large stands of single-age woodland and forest. If these stands are impacted by another large bushfire whilst they are still below minimum TFI, the ecology of the area could be altered. Therefore, planned burning is being carefully introduced to these areas to create a mosaic of fire ages and reduce the risk of large bushfires.

Tolerable Fire Interval: South West

Growth Stage Structure: South West

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 - 1.4 MB]
Download a summary of the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan [MS Word Document - 75.2 KB]

Download the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan [PDF File - 5.5 MB]
Download the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan [MS Word Document - 3.5 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.