Gippsland’s long-term bushfire risk regional planning target is 71 per cent.
The figure below shows the Gippsland region’s bushfire risk profile for 1980–2021 and projected changes in bushfire risk until 2024. It shows bushfire risk in the Gippsland region:
- was 42 per cent in 2020–21, down 2 percentage points from a projected level of 44 per cent (if there were no major bushfires or fuel management)
- increased 1 percentage point from 41 per cent at the end of 2019–20
- is projected to increase to 44 per cent through to 2024 if we implement the entire Joint Fuel Management Program and there are no major bushfires, noting it would increase to 51 per cent without any fuel management or bushfires. Implementing the entire program would keep bushfire risk levels below the long-term Gippsland region planning target of 71 per cent.
- fell drastically in 2019–20 as major bushfires reduced fuel hazards, however these bushfires had significant impacts to property, industries, and the environment.
We delivered all nine of Gippsland’s high-priority, complex burns in autumn 2021. Priority areas for planned burning included seven burns in the Latrobe District around Erica, Rawson, Fumina, and Noojee, plus two burns in the Tambo District around Bullumwaal.
Bushfire risk profile, Gippsland Region, 1980–2024
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 2020–21:
- about 79 per cent of the vegetation was below minimum TFI, a figure maintained from the previous reporting period, and a reflection of the large bushfires that occurred in Gippsland during the 2019–20 season
- the proportion of vegetation within TFI was maintained at 13 per cent
- the proportion with no recorded fire history was maintained at 7 per cent.
It is expected that a high proportion of vegetation on public land in Gippsland will remain below minimum TFI for years to come, due to the extensive bushfires in 2019–20 and the time it takes for recovering vegetation communities to reach their tolerable fire interval.
In 2020–21, less than 1 per cent of the vegetation burnt by bushfire was below minimum TFI, 17 percentage points less than in the previous year. The proportion of vegetation burnt by planned burning while below minimum TFI remained at less than 1 per cent, the result of careful planning to minimise the potential impacts of planned burns on vegetation below minimum TFI.
TFI status of vegetation on public land in the Gippsland region, 1980–2021
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 2020–21:
- about 49 per cent of the vegetation was in the juvenile growth stage, 2 percentage points less than in 2019–20
- the proportion in the adolescent growth stage was the same (19 per cent) and the proportion in the mature growth stage decreased by 1 percentage point to 21 per cent
- the proportion in the old growth stage was the same (1 per cent) and the proportion with no recorded fire history increased by 3 percentage points to 10 per cent.
The high proportion of vegetation in the juvenile growth stage reflects the landscape scale bushfires of 2019–20. In the absence of additional large bushfires, the proportion of vegetation in this growth stage should decrease in the coming years. However, it can be expected that vegetation in the juvenile and adolescent growth stages will form a dominant component of the growth stage structure on Gippsland’s public land for some years to come.
GSS status of vegetation on public land in the Gippsland region, 1980–2021
Fuel management delivery
Table 1 summarises the Gippsland region’s fuel management activities in 2020–21.
Table 1: Fuel management activities, Gippsland region, 2020–21
No. of treatments
Area treated by planned burning:
Area treated by non-burn fuel treatments:
Total area treated to reduce bushfire risk
Gippsland region delivered 124 planned burns that treated 31,474 hectares as part of the 2020–21 Joint Fuel Management Program (JFMP). These included four burns brought forward and treated from year two of the JFMP. We delivered seven ecological, 57 fuel reduction burns and supported one Traditional Owner led burn.
In spring 2020, we delivered seven planned burns. The autumn delivery program began early, with four burns conducted in February 2021 that treated 1,035 hectares. We delivered most of the program in March and April 2021, even though widespread rain across Gippsland in the last week of March delayed the program. In March 2021, a flood incident management team was established to respond to the severe flooding in far East Gippsland and West Gippsland. We restarted the program on 31 March 2021, and taskforces from Gippsland were deployed across the region to ensure the planned burning program continued.
Page last updated: 23/12/21