Recovering from the impacts of fires and floods on parks and forests is important. Our role involves:

  • rehabilitating and restoring the damage caused by fire control operations
  • reopening our strategic road network and protecting it from erosion
  • restoring forest and park infrastructure
  • protecting water quality and supply
  • protecting cultural heritage
  • wildlife rescue
  • helping other agencies with the recovery of the local community when a fire has affected the community's safety or economic or social well-being.

Under the Code of Practice for Bushfire Management on Public Land (2012), our recovery functions are both immediate ('emergency stabilisation works and initial recovery') and longer term.

We try to reopen any closed areas as soon as possible. Reopening, however, may take some time. Infrastructure may need to be replaced or hazards such as falling trees may make the area unsafe.

Reports are available on past recovery programs here should you wish to access them.

Recovery of the natural environment

Generally native vegetation will recover from fire over time.  How long this takes, depends on how particular ecosystems respond to fire, and the frequency of successive fire events in the same area.

To help some ecosystems recover, rehabilitation and regeneration activities may include:

  • controlling invading weeds, whether from seed stock in the soil or from surrounding areas
  • controlling or preventing invasions of feral animals
  • stabilising areas at risk of soil erosion and replanting them with local indigenous plants
  • replanting vegetation damaged by fire control activities.

Control of soil erosion is extra important within water catchments or where sedimentation will otherwise affect river or wetland ecosystems.

Bushfires over the last decade have left a legacy of millions of dead or severely damaged trees in Victoria.

The potential risk of falling trees and branches can pose significant risks to fire fighters, our staff and Parks Victoria staff travelling through or working in affected areas, as well as the general public.Together with Parks Victoria, we are working with local stakeholders to reduce these hazards to help make our state forests and parks safer.

What is a hazardous tree?

A hazardous tree is typically defined by one or more of the following characteristics.

  • Dead and /or decaying tree or major branches
  • Suspected loose or broken branches
  • Significant lean with recent cause or indicators of failure
  • Evidence of longitudinal cracking.
  • Evidence of roots lifting, or an undercut or disturbed root system.
  • Other indicators of serious weakness based on local knowledge and conditions.

Hazardous tree fact sheet (PDF, 399.7 KB)
Hazardous tree fact sheet (accessible) (DOCX, 2.4 MB)

Where are the works taking place?

The project will target and prioritise strategic roads, fire breaks, recreation sites, dams and helipads across Victoria's public land.

When will the works happen?

The project will take place over a two year period, finishing at the end of 2016/17. 

It will build on previous fire damaged tree removal works that began in 2013/14.

In Victoria there is approximately 60 000 kilometres of boundary fencing constructed by private landholders along the boundary of public (Crown land) and private land (not including Crown land river frontage). The policy is based on shared responsibility and our government encourages landholders to assess and manage their risks with regard to fire taking up adequate insurance where available.

Landholders are expected to manage risks to their assets from the potential impact of bushfire.

All landholders are expected to have appropriate levels of insurance cover for boundary and internal fences, in the same way any business venture or private householder should protect and insure their assets.

In line with the Fences Act 1968, the State Government of Victoria does not have any ownership or financial stake in fences along the boundary of private and public land except in cases where specific fencing agreements have been entered into with landholder.

It is the responsibility of the owner of private land to fence their property and secure stock within their boundary.

DELWP has a policy about fences and fire control lines after bushfires:

Repair of fences damaged by bushfire and fire control line rehabilitation policy (PDF, 566.5 KB)
Repair of fences damaged by bushfire and fire control line rehabilitation policy (accessible) (DOCX, 1.7 MB)

To find out whether you are eligible:

This scheme helps to relieve hardship in the community by replenishing essential private water supplies that have been used by fire services during bushfire emergencies.

The Victorian Government has a policy regarding replacing essential water used during bushfire fighting operations.  

Essential water policy (PDF, 244.7 KB)
Essential water policy (accessible) (DOCX, 3.8 MB)

CFA and Forest Fire Management firefighters have the legislative powers to take water from any waterway or water source for firefighting purposes.

The water owner can request replacement of essential water under this scheme.

The water replacement scheme recognises that, while farmers understand the urgency of firefighting, their basic water interests have to be protected too.

If taken for firefighting purposes, a reasonable and sufficient volume of essential water will be provided to sustain the:

  • health of affected residences and pets
  • health and productivity of stock

To lodge a request for essential water replacement, download and complete the Essential Water Replacement form then email it to [email protected]

Essential Water Replacement form (PDF, 143.7 KB)
Essential Water Replacement form (accessible) (DOCX, 68.9 KB)

To lodge a request for water replacement, please contact your local municipality within three months of the water being taken.

Essential Water Replacement requests must be submitted within 3 months of the essential water being taken for bushfire fighting operations.

For FAQs and further information, please refer to the Essential Water Replacement Policy or contact us.

Support services

The following support services can assist our communities following an emergency.

General assistance

For up to date information on the range of support available for emergency events across Victoria, visit VicEmergency Relief and recovery.

Your local council may have the information you need, visit Know Your Council to find contact information for your local council.

Managing your health

The Department of Human Services has a range of resources to assist with managing health issues after an emergency.

Managing stress during emergencies
Managing emotions in emergencies – working with affected people

Managing your health and safety – bushfires

Personal counselling

If you are dealing with stressful events you might find it helpful to talk them over with a local GP or with a member of the clergy. You might also find it useful to contact a counselling or personal support service or a telephone help line.

The following personal and family counselling hotlines are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week:
Lifeline - 13 11 14
Mensline - 1300 78 99 78
Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800

For information about depression, anxiety and substance-use related disorders in the Australian community visit beyondblue or call on 1300 224 636.
For information about family relationship issues, see the Australian government's website family relationships online or call on 1800 050 321.

Other assistance

Other assistance may also be available from the following organisations:

Salvation Army
Brotherhood of St Lawrence
St Vincent De Paul
Red Cross