Bushfire risk

Hume’s long-term bushfire risk regional planning target is 69 per cent.

The figure below shows the Hume region’s bushfire risk profile for 1980–2021 and projected changes in bushfire risk until 2024. It shows bushfire risk in the Hume region:

  • was 69 per cent in 2020–21, down 4 percentage points from a projected level of 73 per cent (if there were no major bushfires or fuel management)
  • increased 2 percentage points from 67 per cent at the end of 2019–20
  • is projected to fall to 59 per cent by 2024 if we implement the entire Joint Fuel Management Program and there are no major bushfires, noting it would increase to 79 per cent without any fuel management activity or major bushfires. Implementing the entire program would keep bushfire risk levels below the long-term Hume region planning target of 69 per cent.

Fuel reduction activity in 2020–21 was substantial across all the region’s four fire districts and kept bushfire risk at the 69 per cent target. It would have been 73 per cent without fuel management activities.

Hume region’s 2020–21 priorities included a large program of landscape-scale burning in the forests of the Great Dividing Range to create a mosaic of fuel loads. We also continued to return to planned burning in the area burnt by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, focusing on the northern edges of Mt Disappointment. We also plan targeted burns around communities across the region.

Bushfire risk profile, Hume Region, 1980–2024

Ecosystem resilience

The figure below shows the tolerable fire interval (TFI) status of vegetation on public land in the Hume region since 1980. It shows that in 2020–21:

  • about 67 per cent of the vegetation was below minimum TFI, 1 percentage point more than in the previous reporting period
  • the proportion of vegetation within TFI remained the same at 20 per cent
  • the proportion of vegetation above maximum TFI remained the same, at 1 per cent.

In 2020–21, none of the vegetation burnt by bushfire was below minimum TFI, compared to 11 per cent in 2019-20. Less than 1 per cent of the vegetation burnt by planned burning was below minimum TFI, 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, Hume region, 1980–2021

The figure below shows the growth stage structure (GSS) status of vegetation on public land in the Hume region since 1980. It shows that in 2020–21:

  • about 21 per cent of the vegetation was in the juvenile growth stage, a decrease of 3 percentage points since 2019–20
  • the proportion in the adolescent growth stage was about 25 per cent, an increase of 2 percentage points following the general trend occurring since 2009 of juvenile and adolescent vegetation transitioning to older growth stages in areas previously impacted by bushfire
  • the proportion of vegetation in the mature growth stage was about 34 per cent, a decrease of 6 percentage points
  • there was no significant change in the proportions in the old growth stage (which remained low, at 2 per cent) and with no fire history (11 per cent).

GSS status of vegetation on public land, Hume region, 1980–2021

Fuel management delivery

Table 1 summarises the Hume region’s fuel management activities in 2020–21.

Table 1: Fuel management activities, Hume region, 2020–21.

Fuel reduction

No. of treatments


Area treated by planned burning:

  • ecological burns: 2 hectares (1 burn)
  • fuel reduction burns: 51,870 hectares (54 burns)
  • other burns: 628 hectares (50 burns)


Area treated by non-burn fuel treatments:

  • mechanical mulching: 63 hectares (7 treatments)
  • mechanical slashing or mowing: 1,298 hectares (167 treatments)
  • other methods: 2,487 hectares (16 treatments)


Total area treated to reduce bushfire risk



Weather conditions in the Hume region were characterised by average winter and spring rainfall during 2020, followed by a wetter-than-average summer from a La Niña event, enabling the program to commence in mid-February 2021. Above-average rainfall continued until the end of March, with heavier falls recorded in the Central Highlands and the north-east ranges. There was then below-average rainfall and a continued drying period in April, which provided opportunities to deliver larger landscape burns.

Conditions from May to June saw the return of average rainfall across most of the region. Higher-elevation burns stopped, and we supported heap and regeneration coupe burns to regenerate Ash in the Central Highlands.

The region’s 2020–21 target for non-burn fuel treatment works was 5,210 hectares of which we completed 3,832 hectares.

The Strategic Fuel Breaks initiative also started, delivering many non-burn fuel treatment works in the Ovens and Upper Murray fire districts. These works accounted for the shortfall in delivery against the Joint Fuel Management Program target.

Strategic bushfire management planning centred on the joint delivery of FFMVic’s recently published Hume Bushfire Management Strategy undertaken with the Country Fire Authority, Emergency Management Victoria and local governments and in consultation with communities. This work is part of the State Government’s Safer Together policy to reduce the risk of bushfires in Victoria by bringing together land and fire managers, communities, and stakeholders to develop a common understanding of bushfire risk and determine strategies and actions to reduce that risk.

For the first time, the Hume Bushfire Management Strategy includes bushfire risk engagement areas, which are areas in the landscape where managing bushfire fuels on public and private land most effectively reduces risk.

Work delivered through the Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting program, which is funded by the Reducing Bushfire Risk initiative, included the development of the Burning Well program and a long-term landscape monitoring program. The Burning Well program reports on the performance of our planned burning program against six themes: planning, preparation, delivery, rehabilitation, debrief, and evaluation. The long-term monitoring program supplements situational awareness about the current condition of forests and values. It will also improve the accuracy of fuel accumulation modelling across the region and track changes and accumulation over time. These initiatives will continue in 2021–22.

Page last updated: 23/12/21