• 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 2019–20, estimated bushfire risk is was projected at around 68%.

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 bushfire risk is projected to fall to 45% by 2023 if we implement the entire Joint Fuel Management Program (JFMP) and there are no major bushfires but would increase to 75% without any fuel management activity or major bushfires. This action will keep bushfire risk levels below the long-term Barwon South West region planning target of 60%.

Bushfire risk profile, Barwon South West Region, 1980–2023

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 and determine strategies and actions to reduce that risk.

This planning is informed by world-leading, bushfire behaviour modelling and research into community values that can be affected by bushfires. It brings together multiple perspectives to set agreed objectives for regional bushfire management.

The key output of strategic planning is six new Bushfire Management Strategies aligned to each of the Victorian Government Regions:

Download the Barwon South West Bushfire Management Strategy (PDF 11MB)

Download the Barwon South West Bushfire Management Strategy (Word Accessible 13MB)

The Strategic bushfire management planning process is jointly delivered by Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic), Country Fire Authority (CFA), Emergency Management Victoria (EMV), and local government in consultation with communities. For more information about the Strategic Bushfire Management Planning process, see the Strategic Bushfire Management Planning page.

Page last updated: 06/01/21