Bushfire risk

Gippsland’s long-term bushfire risk regional planning target is 71%.

The figure below shows the Gippsland region’s bushfire risk profile for the period 1980–2020 and projected changes in bushfire risk until 2023. It shows bushfire risk in the Gippsland region:

  • is 41% in 2019–20, a decrease of 31 percentage points from 72% at the end of 2018–19
  • is projected to remain at 41% through to 2023 if the entire Joint Fuel Management Program is implemented and there is little bushfire activity but would increase to 48% without any fuel management or bushfires.  This action will keep bushfire risk levels below the long-term Gippsland region planning target of 71%.

Priority areas for planned burning include the forested areas of West Gippsland on the edge of metropolitan Melbourne as well as along the forest interface to the north of Traralgon and Bairnsdale. The fuel management program will also be targeted to protect high value unburnt areas in and around the 2019-20 bushfire footprint.  Planning has also commenced on the reintroduction of fire back into the 2019-20 fire footprint to support a mosaic of fuel types and ages as well as the construction and maintenance of strategic fuel breaks to enable rapid response and break up the landscape to support large scale mosaic burning.

Bushfire risk profile, Gippsland Region, 1980–2023

Ecosystem resilience

The figure below shows the tolerable fire interval (TFI) status of vegetation on public land in the Gippsland region since 1980. It shows that in 2019–20:

  • about 79% of the vegetation was below minimum TFI, an increase of 15percentage points from the previous reporting period and a consequence of the major bushfires in Gippsland last season
  • the proportion of vegetation within TFI decreased by 12 percentage points to 13%
  • the proportion with no recorded fire history decreased by three percentage points to 7%.

During 2019–20, about 22% of vegetation was burnt by bushfires while below minimum TFI, 17% more than in the previous reporting year. The proportion of vegetation burnt while below minimum TFI due to planned burning remained below 1%. This was due to carefully considered planned burning to reduce the potential impacts of burning vegetation while below minimum TFI.

TFI status of vegetation on public land in the Gippsland region, 1980–2020

The figure below shows the growth stage structure (GSS) status of vegetation on public land in the Gippsland region since 1980. It shows that in 2019–20:

  • about 51% of the vegetation was in the juvenile growth stage, 31 percentage points more than in the previous reporting period
  • the proportion of vegetation in the juvenile growth stage was about 51%, an increase of 31 percentage points on the previous reporting period
  • the proportion in the adolescent growth stage declined by 12 percentage points to 19% and the proportion in the mature growth stage decreased by 16 percentage points to 22%
  • there was a one percentage point decline in the proportion in the old growth stage to 1% and a three percentage points decline in the proportion with no recorded fire history to 7%.

The relatively low proportions of vegetation in the mature and old growth stages are a legacy of the 2006–07 bushfires, and the proportions have been further reduced by the large bushfires this season.

GSS status of vegetation on public land in the Gippsland region, 1980–2020

Fuel management delivery

Table 1 summarises the Gippsland region’s fuel management activities in 2019–20.

Table 1: Fuel management activities, Gippsland region, 2019–20

Fuel reduction

No. of treatments


Area treated by planned burning:

  • ecological burns: 0 ha (0 burns)
  • fuel reduction burns: 1,732 ha (13 burns)
  • other burns: 562 ha (50 burns)


Area treated by non-burn fuel treatments:

  • mechanical mulching: 3 ha (2 treatments)
  • mechanical slashing or mowing: 1,708 ha (129 treatments)
  • other methods: 154 ha (8 treatments)

Total area treated to reduce bushfire risk



In 2019–20, the region’s fuel management program was severely affected by the summer bushfires, which burnt over one million hectares. Delivery was further restricted by the additional challenges of delivering a large, complex recovery program and wetter-than-average conditions in the west of the region.

The focus for mechanical treatment areas was the annual slashing program of fuel breaks and areas close to communities, in line with the risk reduction objectives of our bushfire management strategies.

In 2019–20, we delivered several cross-tenure burns in partnership with private property owners and the Country Fire Authority. We also supported the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation to deliver its first Traditional Owner burn at the Knob Reserve at Stratford.

Page last updated: 25/11/20