Bushfire risk to life and property
The figure below shows the Hume region’s risk profile for the period 1980–2019 and projected changes in bushfire risk until 2022. It shows that:
- in 2018–19, bushfire risk was 67%
- bushfire risk fell sharply after major bushfires in the early 1980s including the 1982 Mt Disappointment fire and the 1985 Bright fires and then increased as fuel slowly re-accumulated
- over the last few decades, bushfire risk has fallen sharply in response to several large bushfires including the 2003 Alpine fire, the 2006–07 Great Divide fires and the 2009 Black Saturday fires
- after 2009, bushfire risk stayed below 40% for five years, but in recent years it has been increasing again due to fuel re-accumulating in large areas burnt by bushfires
- despite restricted conditions for fuel-reduction activities in 2018–19, we maintained bushfire risk below the 69% target
- fuel management activities will reduce risk to a projected 59%, but without any fuel management, we project bushfire risk will increase to 78% by 2022.
Bushfire risk profile, Hume Region, 1980–2022
Bushfire risk to the environment
The figure below shows the tolerable fire interval (TFI) status of vegetation on public land in the Hume region since 1980.
The figure shows that after ten years of the proportion of vegetation below minimum TFI remaining about the same at around 73%, in 2018–19 this proportion decreased by about 10% to a value of about 63%. This is a result of regeneration over the past 15 years after several major bushfires including the 2003 Alpine fire, the 2006–07 Great Divide fires, the 2009 Black Saturday fires and the 2013 Harrietville fire. In 2018–19, there was a corresponding increase of 11% in the proportion of areas within TFI which was the result of areas of vegetation from the 1939 bushfires reaching reproductive maturity. In 2018–19, less than 1% of the vegetation in this landscape was burnt by bushfire or planned burning while below TFI. This shows that our fire management strategies are carefully considering and planning our burns to reduce our impacts on vegetation below minimum TFI.
TFI status of vegetation on public land, Hume region, 1980–2019
The figure below shows the growth stage structure (GSS) status of vegetation on public land in the Hume region since 1980.
The figure shows about 45% of the landscape was in the juvenile and adolescent growth stages in 2018–19. This is the legacy of large bushfires in the region since 2003, particularly the 2006–07 and 2009 fires. In 2018–19, there was an increase in the proportion of adolescent vegetation across the landscape: up 6% compared to the previous year. In recent years, the proportion of vegetation in the mature and old growth stages has increased to about 43% of the landscape, as large areas of fire-affected vegetation have reached maturity.
GSS status of vegetation on public land, Hume region, 1980–2019
The TFI and GSS cannot be determined on public land with no recorded fire history.
Activities to reduce bushfire risk
Table 10: Hume region fuel management, 2018–19
Area treated by planned burning:
Area treated by other fuel management methods
Total area treated to reduce bushfire risk
Victorian Bushfire Monitoring Program
The Hume region undertakes a range of monitoring activities to provide data to improve our fire management strategies and assess the effectiveness of our fuel management program. Our program focuses on monitoring fuel hazard and key threatened species.
In 2018–19, Hume staff monitored fuel levels before and after planned burning at 178 sites to assess the effectiveness of the planned burning program at reducing bushfire fuel. This included pre-burn surveys at 18 scheduled burns. We subsequently ignited ten of these burns and followed up with post-burn surveys. We will undertake post-burn surveys for the remaining eight burns after we ignite these burns.
Our environmental value monitoring in 2018–19 focused on assessing the responses of Greater Gliders to fire and fuel management activities. To ensure the scientific adequacy of this program, we partnered with scientists at the Arthur Rylah Institute. Following a successful pilot in 2017–18, the monitoring program was refined and now includes data from spotlighting and habitat surveys, methods we used at two proposed burn areas in the Goulburn fire district. We found the monitoring approach was robust and efficient, with Greater Gliders detected in areas considered to be suitable habitat for the species. We subjected these burn areas to fuel treatment in 2018–19, but we did not burn the survey transects. Observations from the surveys were incorporated into the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas to update information about the species’ response to fire. In 2019–20, we will finalise these surveys in the Goulburn fire district and extend them into the Ovens and Upper Murray fire districts.
Page last updated: 23/12/20