Updated Tue Mar 08 2022 by DELWP
One of the main ways we manage bushfire risk in Victoria is to manage fuels.
This interactive map lets you to explore where, how and why we do planned burning and other fuel management actions. The map first shows the 3 year Joint Fuel Management Program. More information about fuel management is displayed as you scroll down.
Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) and the Country Fire Authority (CFA) work together to plan and carry out fuel management works across Victoria. Every year we update our 3-year program to manage forest fuels like dry leaves, twigs and bark on both public and private land, called the Joint Fuel Management Program (JFMP).
We put this program together to protect communities and the environment from the risk of bushfire and to maintain the health of native plants and animals that rely on fire to survive. This Program also includes non-burn fuel treatments (e.g., mulching, slashing, mowing, and grazing), as well as creating and maintaining fuel breaks.
To understand the bushfire risk, FFMVic and CFA consider existing amounts of fuel that have built up, known as fuel loads. We also consider climate conditions, as well as the impacts on fuel loads due to previous bushfires, fuel management activities and incidents such as severe storms.
Planned burning is the planned and controlled use of fire under carefully managed conditions at times of lower bushfire risk, mainly in autumn and spring.
Planned burns are used for various reasons across both private and public land, including:
• Reducing fuel loads to reduce bushfire risk
• Protecting and enhancing biodiversity
• Cultural burning
• Land management
• Forest regeneration
• Agricultural purposes
Planned burning is efficient and cost-effective. Also, Australia’s native flora and fauna have evolved with fire, and planned burning is an important part of managing, and improving, landscapes that are adapted to fire.
Planned burns are managed differently across different areas to reduce bushfire risk. Close to towns or other assets, planned burns are more frequent, more intense and reduce fuel across much of the burn area.
Some burns are conducted in multiple stages, and some are sequenced with other burns in the landscape to form a mosaic. This means that planned burning operations can occur in the same area over successive years to form a patchwork of burns. Some areas, especially those close to assets, can be treated with mechanical treatments that may occur more frequently.
Non-burn fuel treatments include mulching, slashing, mowing and grazing or other operations. These activities do not involve fire, but rearrange the fuel so it is closer to the ground and doesn’t burn as easily.
Non-burn fuel treatments may be more appropriate or practical in certain areas where it is difficult to carry out planned burns safely. This may be due to closeness to houses and assets, in challenging terrain, or where fire behaviour may be too intense due to local conditions.
For example, small areas of fuel located within, or close to, townships may be slashed or mulched with machinery. Mechanical methods can also be more suitable in certain vegetation types.
In some areas, non-burn fuel treatments may be carried out in conjunction with planned burning. This means mechanical methods may be used first around the edge of a burn to reduce fuels and provide a safe buffer. Then the remaining area can be burnt more safely.
There are two types of strategic fuel breaks:
Located in the forest to divide the landscape into smaller areas to help reduce a bushfire to the smallest size possible. These breaks provide a platform for fighting fires in the forest, such as lighting a backburn to reduce fuels between the break and an approaching fire. They may also help to reduce fire impacts on nearby communities.
Designed to provide protection to communities and assets from the direct impacts of fire. These breaks are generally located adjacent to townships and assets.
The program contributes to achieving the Victorian Government statewide risk reduction objective that commits to maintaining bushfire risk at or below a residual risk of 70% in the long-term. Residual risk is the risk, on average, that bushfires will impact on life and property across the landscape. It is the risk that remains after bushfire and fuel management (mainly planned burning) activities have happened.
Agencies manage local bushfire risk through identifying planned burns and other fuel management works to meet the risk target and protect the things we value. This program aims to meet or exceed the regional residual risk targets and deliver bushfire management strategies. It provides flexibility to account for different seasonal conditions.
The program is guided by 6 regional Bushfire Management Strategies that address the long-term bushfire risk to the things we value: people, communities, houses, agriculture infrastructure, economy, cultural heritage and the natural environment. The program considers these values, as well as management objectives and natural fire regimes. The activities in the program are prioritised based on current risk to these values from bushfire
This program considers risk by understanding:
• where fuels need to be managed according to the strategy
• where has fuel been reduced already, when and how
• the current risk to values from remaining fuels
• the impact of further fuel management in the landscape on values.
By understanding what communities care about, where bushfires have happened before and analysing which areas in Victoria are most at risk, landscape strategies are created. Regional Bushfire Management Strategies tell agencies where, how much and how often to conduct fuel management activities to reduce bushfire risk. These strategies inform the program using FMZ on public land.
Fire Management Zones consist of:
Note – some areas of public land do not have Fire Management Zones – for example, grassland areas where planned burning is used to retore and maintain the diversity of native plant and animal species.
In each of these zones FFMVic manages fuels differently in terms of the frequency and intensity of fuel management activities like planned burning. Where and when fuel management is conducted each year on public land in Victoria is determined by a range of factors, including fuel loads and weather conditions, such as rainfall. Fuel builds up at different rates in different areas depending on how fast the vegetation grows compared to how fast it decomposes. The way fuel management is conducted in the different types of Fire Management Zones on public land helps reduce the intensity, severity and spread of bushfires across the landscape. This contributes to reducing the risk of bushfires impacting things we care about. The success of the fuel management program on public land is monitored and the results are published in the yearly Fuel Management Report.
Managing fuels on public land reduces bushfire risk by a certain amount. To protect the things we care about, agencies and communities need to consider ways of reducing bushfire risk across both public and private land.
Bushfire Risk Engagement Areas cover have been identified on both public and private land and help agencies to prioritise engagement with the community about managing fuels where it can be most effective. This includes considering a range of actions to reduce bushfire risk, including fuel management actions in the Joint Fuel Management Program.
Managing fuels on private and public land begins with a conversation about the benefits and limitations of fuel reduction to meet the needs of our local community and environment.
There is no new legal obligation for landowners within Bushfire Risk Engagement Areas to reduce bushfire fuels on their property.
By working together, agencies and communities will be able to better protect the things we value from being impacted by bushfire. Further information about Bushfire Risk Engagement Areas can be found in the regional Bushfire Management Strategies.
This map shows all planned burns, non-burn fuel treatments and Strategic Fuel Breaks on the Joint Fuel Management Program.
The Program is updated every year. It’s designed to be flexible, and sometimes it is also necessary to modify, reschedule, remove or add new fuel treatments to the program in response to weather and other conditions. The information presented here is current and updated when these changes happen.
You can register on Planned Burns Victoria to receive notifications when burns in your selected areas are close to being carried out.
For further information about fuel management and the Joint Fuel Management Program:
• Visit the FFMVic Website . Here you can also download the JFMP plans for each region.
• Call the VicEmergency Hotline: 1800 226 226