Managing bushfire risk
DEPI is working in partnership with the community and other land managers and fire agencies to tackle the risk of bushfire.
Adopting a broader approach to managing bushfire risk is part of ongoing efforts to deliver the recommendations of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission and government priorities for emergency management.
DEPI's bushfire risk landscape teams work with communities to model, monitor and analyse bushfire risk on public land. They aim to ensure that bushfire management action is undertaken where and when it will be most effective.
The approach is balanced and it pairs local knowledge and expertise with the latest research and predictive modelling technology – to protect people, property and biodiversity.
Working together is crucial to effectively reduce the risk of fire in one of the most bushfire-prone areas in the world.
DEPI works with communities, land managers, fire agencies and local stakeholders to get their views on the best ways to reduce the risk of bushfire in their area. This process looks at the many stages of bushfire management including prevention, preparedness, fuel management, response and recovery.
Residents, land managers and owners can also play a part by finding out about bushfire risks on their property and having an up-to-date fire plan.
Using technology to understand bushfire risk
DEPI uses computer modelling software called 'Phoenix RapidFire' to simulate the spread and intensity of a bushfire. This software has been developed in collaboration between DEPI, the University of Melbourne and the Bushfire Co-operative Research Centre.
Phoenix RapidFire predicts how fires can spread from a range of ignition points, based on factors like vegetation, weather and terrain. It can also be used to evaluate the effect different fuel management strategies have on reducing bushfire risk to communities.
The Victorian Bushfire Risk Profiles report describes how DEPI uses this technology to model bushfires and develop plans at a state and landscape level. It also describes how DEPI measures the effectiveness of fuel management activities to reduce bushfire risk.
- Overview – Victorian bushfire risk profiles
- Overview – Victorian bushfire risk profiles – accessible version
- Victorian bushfire risk profiles
- Victorian bushfire risk profiles report – accessible version
This approach has already been used to model bushfire risk in the Dandenong Ranges landscape bushfire project led by the Fire Services Commissioner.
Strategic planning to reduce bushfire risk
DEPI and Parks Victoria are working together to implement strategic bushfire management planning on public land in Victoria, to better meet the primary objectives of the Code of practice for fire management on public land.
As part of this strategic planning, DEPI will be speaking with communities and stakeholders to understand what they value in their landscape. This will help to develop plans that reflect community and stakeholder values by reducing bushfire risk to the things that are most important.
Bushfire risk landscape teams
Bushfire risk landscapes are best explained as 'bushfire catchments'. They are comprised of areas of land where major bushfires could be expected to start, spread and impact. These areas have been identified using bushfire modelling and help align strategic planning with predicted bushfire behaviour and spread.
There are seven risk landscapes across Victoria, each with a dedicated team. These teams are multi-disciplinary and include people from DEPI and Parks Victoria with skills in land management, fire management, risk analysis, biodiversity management, monitoring and evaluation, and community and stakeholder engagement.
Each team will develop strategies to reduce the risk of bushfires impacting on communities, infrastructure and the environment. These strategies will be detailed in a strategic bushfire management plan, which each team is currently preparing.
DEPI's seven bushfire risk landscapes are:
- South Western
- Mallee and Murray Goulburn
- Barwon Otway
- West Central
- East Central
- Alpine and North East, and
- Alpine and Greater Gippsland
Monitoring, evaluation and reporting
An important part of ensuring that DEPI's management of bushfire risk continues to improve over time is monitoring, evaluation and reporting.