Characteristics

  • A quarter of Victoria's population
  • Expanding communities increase demand for isolated lifestyle properties
  • Large population close to forested areas
  • Diverse ecological values including Box Ironbark and the Bellarine Peninsula Ramsar wetlands
  • Only a third of the landscape is treatable by planned burning

Fuel Management

  • Fuel management undertaken for the greatest risk reduction for priority communities and infrastructure
  • Planned burning more intensely around communities that are at high risk like Daylesford-Hepburn Springs area
  • Slashing on small isolated parcels of public land which are impractical to burn

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 West Central landscape, residual risk is currently at around 65%.

Residual risk peaked at 86% in 2003 and has steadily declined since then. This is mainly due to an increase in the level of planned burning, particularly in high-risk areas of the landscape.

In recent years, reduced opportunities for planned burning have led to an increase in residual risk to 65%

Residual risk is projected to decrease to 48-55% by 2020 as planned burning scheduled in the fire operations plan is carried out. Without planned burning, residual risk would rapidly return to over 79% by 2020.

Residual risk

Figure 1: Residual risk profile, West 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 - 542.2 KB]

Map of Growth Stage Structure 2015 [PDF File - 545.1 KB]

Within the West Central BRL, around 25% 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, equating to no more than around 1% of any vegetation type.

The area of the landscape below minimum TFI decreased from 1991 through to 2010. This is partly a reflection of an absence of large-area bushfires in this period. Due to the fragmented nature of vegetation in the landscape, even bushfires with significant impacts to property and life are not large in area.

In the last decade, the area of vegetation below minimum TFI has increased to over 25%. The recent rise in the area of the landscape below minimum TFI corresponds to increased levels of planned burning.

A large proportion of this landscape has no recorded fire history. It should not be assumed that these areas are above the minimum TFI. The long, significant history of disturbance within these areas (due to the gold rush, forestry, etc.) means that many of these areas are still regenerating.

Tolerable Fire Interval: West Central

Growth Stage Structure: West 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 - 2.0 MB]
Download a summary of the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan [MS Word Document - 81.3 KB]

Download the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan [PDF File - 3.4 MB]
Download the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan [MS Word Document - 2.8 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.