Bushfire risk profile, East Central Bushfire Risk Landscape, 1980–2021
Bushfire risk in East Central
The East Central BRL risk profile for the period 1980–2018, and projected changes in bushfire risk until 2021. It shows that:
- In 2017-18, bushfire risk in the landscape was 80%.
- Bushfire risk fell sharply after the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires and again after the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, reaching less than 40% in 2010.
- Since 2009, bushfire risk has increased as large areas of fuel have re-accumulated in wetter, mountainous forest areas, which are normally too damp for planned burning, and several high-risk towns in this landscape adjoin forest that cannot be safely fuel-reduced with planned burning. This has made other activities such as mechanical works, improved preparedness and community education essential.
- Fuel management activities in the FOP will reduce risk to a projected 79%, but without fuel management bushfire risk will continue to rise, to a projected 86% by 2021.
Valuing our environment
Tolerable fire interval across East Central
The figure below shows the tolerable fire interval (TFI) status of vegetation on public land in the East Central BRL for the period 2007–18.
The figure shows that in 2017–18 about 64% of the vegetation was below minimum TFI. This percentage has been almost the same since 2009. In 2017–18, less than 1% of the vegetation was burnt by bushfire or planned burning while below minimum TFI: mainly by planned burning. This shows our strategic bushfire management planning is resulting in carefully considered planned burning to reduce impacts on vegetation below minimum TFI. The large increase in the area below minimum TFI in 2009 was a result of the Black Saturday bushfires.
TFI status of public land vegetation, East Central BRL, 2007–18
Growth stage structure across East Central
The figure below shows the growth stage structure (GSS) status of vegetation on public land in the East Central BRL for the period 2007–18.
The figure shows about 48% of the landscape was in the juvenile and adolescent growth stages in 2018 and about 40% was in the older (mature and old) growth stages. The distribution of growth stages across the landscape has remained reasonably constant since 2012–13 with the landscape favouring a younger growth stage distribution. The 2009 Black Saturday bushfires remain the main cause of the current growth stage distribution in the landscape.
Threatened species (such as Leadbeater’s possum and Smoky mouse) rely on vegetation in the mature and old growth stages for habitat (such as hollow-bearing trees and coarse, woody debris). It will take a long time for the landscape to recover to these growth stages as some vegetation communities can take up to 50 years or more to reach maturity.
GSS status of public land vegetation, East Central BRL, 2007–18
A small proportion of this landscape has no recorded fire history. Nothing can be inferred about the TFI and GSS of public land with no recorded fire history.