Characteristics

  • 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

Fuel management

  • 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

Bushfire risk

The estimated 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 South West region in 2018–19, estimated risk is was projected at around 62%.

Estimated 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 the early 2000's due to fuel re-accumulating across the region.

Since the mid 2000's, there has been an increased focus on strategic fuel management in the Barwon South West 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.

Estimated risk is projected to decrease again to 51% by 2022, as planned burning scheduled in the joint fuel management program is carried out.  

Without planned burning, estimated risk would increase risk will increase to 74% by 2022.

Bushfire risk profile, Barwon South West Region, 1980–2022

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 regional 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 the Barwon South West region 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 region 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 - 3.5 MB]
Download a summary of the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan [MS Word Document - 81.6 KB]

Download the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan [PDF File - 3.0 MB]
Download the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan [MS Word Document - 2.6 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.

Page last updated: 09/09/20