Bushfire risk

Loddon Mallee’s long-term bushfire risk regional planning target is 75 per cent.

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

  • was 71 per cent in 2020–21, down 4 percentage points from a projected level of 75 per cent (if there were no major bushfires or fuel management)
  • decreased 1 percentage point from 72 per cent at the end of 2019–20
  • was below the long-term target of 75 per cent, which was the result of delivering 64 burns with a total area of 14,780 hectares in 2020–21
  • is projected to increase to 73 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 81 per cent by 2024 without any fuel management activities or major bushfires. Implementing the entire program would keep bushfire risk levels below the long-term Loddon Mallee region planning target of 75 per cent.

Priority areas for planned burning and mechanical fuel treatments include around Castlemaine and Macedon, as well as south of Bendigo. We will continue planned burning and mechanical fuel treatments in the larger forested areas of the Mallee including the Big Desert and Murray Sunset, to reduce the likelihood of large-scale bushfires.

Bushfire risk profile, Loddon Mallee Region, 1980–2024

Ecosystem resilience

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

  • the proportion of vegetation below minimum TFI remained the same, at 27 per cent
  • the proportion of vegetation within TFI remained the same, at 29 per cent, due to areas below TFI transitioning to within TFI
  • the proportion of vegetation above maximum TFI remained the same, at 1 per cent.

In 2020–21, less than 1 per cent of the vegetation burnt by bushfires or 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, Loddon Mallee region, 1980–2021

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

  • the proportion of the vegetation in the juvenile growth stage remained the same (at 3 per cent) as in 2019–20
  • the proportion in the adolescent growth stage remained the same at 9 per cent
  • the proportion in the mature growth stage remained the same, at 40 per cent
  • the proportion in the old growth stage was about 3 per cent, which was a small increase that continued the trend that began in 2015
  • the area of vegetation with no recorded fire history has gradually declined over the past decade and is currently about 43 per cent.

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

Fuel management delivery

2020–21 was a highly successful year for fuel management in the Loddon Mallee region. Table 1 summarises the region’s fuel management activities in 2020–21.

Table 1: Fuel management activities, Loddon Mallee region, 2020–21

Fuel reduction

No. treatments


Area treated by planned burning:

  • ecological burns: 58 hectares (1 burn)
  • fuel reduction burns: 14,475 hectares (50 burns)
  • other burns: 247 hectares (13 burns)


Area treated by non-burn fuel treatments:

  • mechanical mulching: 195 hectares (15 treatments)
  • mechanical slashing or mowing: 2,627 hectares (735 treatments)
  • other methods: 1,166 hectares (14 treatments)


Total area treated to reduce bushfire risk



In 2020–21, the Loddon Mallee region delivered 64 planned burns, treating a total area of 14,780 hectares.

In the Mallee parks, we focused fuel management on a network of fuel-reduced corridors. These reduce the probability of large, landscape-scale bushfires that may impact communities and the environment. With corridor implementation up to date in the northern Mallee, this year has seen a greater focus on the Big Desert State Forest and Wyperfeld National Park corridor network. Treating edge breaks (such as Booligal South) reduced bushfire risk to communities including Yaapeet and Rainbow by reducing the likelihood of bushfires exiting public land.

Fuel treatments built on work in priority areas which reduces bushfire risk to townships of Castlemaine, Chewton, Denver, Drummond, Elphinstone, and Taradale, and included burns at Denver (Eyles Ln), Drummond (Wattle Tk), and Chewton (West White Gum Tk). Small fuel treatments close to high-density residential areas in southern and western Bendigo (including One Tree Hill Block 8, Kangaroo Flat–Carcoola Drive and Big Hill–Marne Tk) also provided important bushfire risk reduction outcomes for these densely populated areas.

The first stages of burns in the Macedon Ranges (Campey Road and Bawden Road) were also successfully delivered. These burns were adjacent to the highest-bushfire-risk locality in the region. Opportunities to deliver these burns safely and effectively are limited, and these treatments took five years of careful planning.

Traditional Owner Cultural burning program

The Traditional Owner cultural burning program has been building in Loddon Mallee Region since 2017, from two burns delivered on Djaara Country to 119 burns now proposed across Barapa, Djaara, Tati, Wurundjeri, and Yorta Country, through meaningful and honest engagement with the groups.  Traditional Owners now have access to the Fuel Management System which allows direct planning of their burns as part of the Joint Fuel Management Program and allows the FFMVic Cultural Fire and Heritage team to better support them.

A burn planning workshop was held with staff from Djandak Wi, Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation and Barapa Land and Water, to better support self-determination and ownership of the Traditional Owner burn program. Cultural burning by Traditional Owners is further being supported with training and provision of four dedicated fire vehicles to be used in undertaking cultural burns.

In 2021, Traditional Owners delivered 12 burns in partnership with FFMVic in the Loddon Mallee including:

*           10 burns delivered in partnership with Djaara including repeat burns at some sites

*           one burn delivered by Barapa Land and Water

*           the first burn delivered by Wurundjeri at Macedon.

Page last updated: 23/12/21