Fuel reduction program

The fuel reduction program is a Tasmanian Government initiative to reduce the risk of catastrophic fires in Tasmania, by improving fuel reduction burning throughout the state.

In response to the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, the State Fire Management Council released Bushfire in Tasmania – A new approach to understanding our statewide relative risk. This report recommended a fuel reduction program that treats land based on risk, rather than who is responsible for its management.

The program has adopted a ‘tenure blind’ approach, meaning it will treat both public and privately owned land, working in cooperation with individual land owners whose properties have been identified as posing a potential bushfire threat to local communities.

Bushfire in Tasmania detailed extensive computer modelling of bushfire risk in the state. This data was produced by two models: the Bushfire Risk Assessment Model (BRAM) developed by the Parks and Wildlife Service; and Phoenix Rapidfire, developed by the University of Melbourne and the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre.

Modelling results were then used to inform each of the fire protection plans prepared by Fire Management Area Committees throughout Tasmania. In turn, these are based on the expertise and knowledge of local stakeholders.

Reducing the amount of vegetation that can sustain a bushfire is an effective technique for reducing the spread, intensity and damage caused by bushfires. It will not prevent bushfires, but is one of a range of activities undertaken by the Tasmania Fire Service, Parks and Wildlife Service, Forestry Tasmania and local councils to reduce the risk to our communities.


Fuel Reduction Unit

The fuel reduction program is overseen by the Fuel Reduction Unit within the Tasmania Fire Service, working in cooperation with the Parks and Wildlife Service, Forestry Tasmania, local councils and private land owners. The unit provides a single, coordinated strategic approach to fuel reduction burns in Tasmania, and also manages the program’s budget.

The program is delivered according to a strict set of priorities: the preservation of life, the protection of critical community infrastructure, residential property, business assets and the natural environment. The unit cooperates with government agencies, interest groups and individual land owners, and makes formal agreements where needed.

The Fuel Reduction Unit is also responsible for planning and preparation, consulting and communicating with communities about the fuel reduction program and addressing any concerns.

The Fuel Reduction Unit is overseen by a steering committee consisting of senior government department heads, the Tasmania Fire Service’s Chief Officer and the Chair of the State Fire Management Council. The steering committee reports to the Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage.


Land owner responsibility

Bushfire fuel poses a risk to our community, whether it is on public or private land. Managing that risk is a shared responsibility of the whole community. Importantly, individual private land owners must take responsibility for ensuring their property is maintained in a safe condition.

This means residents living in bushfire prone areas must learn how to prepare and respond to bushfires.

If the fuel reduction program identifies the need to burn private land, land owners will be contacted by the Fuel Reduction Unit at the earliest possible stage, both in person and in writing.

Under the fuel reduction program, no burn plan will proceed without the approval of the land owner.

Fuel reduction burns can be complex and each has its own characteristics. The resources needed for each property will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

By working with the fuel reduction program, individual land owners make a vital contribution to keeping their communities safe.

To find out more about how you can be involved, contact the Fuel Reduction Unit on 1800 000 699.

For information on how to conduct planned burns on your own property, have a look at our Red Hot Tips.



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Updated: 20-Mar-2015