Delivering Bushfire Reform
The 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfire saw over 1.5 million hectares of Victoria burnt, resulting in the tragic loss of life, devastating impacts to homes, property and livelihoods and the environment on a scale seldom seen in Victoria.
In the Victorian Government response to recommendations made in the Inspector-General for Emergency Management’s (IGEM) Inquiry into the 2019-2020 Victorian fire season phase 1 report and the Victorian Auditor General’s Office (VAGO) Reducing Bushfire Risks audit, the government accepted that land and fire agencies need to improve how they communicate and engage with communities and stakeholders about living with bushfire risk.
Learn more about how we're managing bushfire risk.
Independent Investigation of the Lancefield-Cobaw Fire
Director of the Office of Bushfire Risk Management, Western Australia
On 8 October 2015, after the Lancefield-Cobaw fires, the Victorian Government acted swiftly in announcing an independent investigation to be led by Mr. Murray Carter, Director of the Office of Bushfire Risk Management in Western Australia. The Investigation would establish the facts and circumstances around the burn and its escapes and make findings and recommendations for improvement.
The final report was required within three weeks of commencement of the investigation. While the prompt establishment and the short duration of the investigation is positive, providing the community with action and answers and recommendations for improvement soon after the incident.
The investigation team provided its final report to the Secretary on 4 November 2015. In its report, the investigation team made 22 recommendations for improvement. DELWP accepts all recommendations and provided a response.
Learn more about the Lancefield-Cobaw bushfires.
Harrietville Inquest and response
Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner
On 13 February 2013, a tree fell on the fireground resulting in the tragic deaths of two firefighters, Katie Peters and Steven Kadar. Their loss was felt, and continues to be felt, by the department and broader emergency management sector.
On 17 December 2015, Coroner Olle concluded his inquest into the deaths and issued coroner's reports to the department. The Report made ten recommendations and four suggestions to improve the safety of personnel on the fireground when fire fighting in hazardous tree environments.
On 16 March 2016, DELWP submitted its response to the Coroner's Reports, committing to implement all recommendations and suggestions from the inquest.
The safety of our firefighters remains our number one priority and we are doing everything we can do to learn from this tragedy. We are working with our emergency management partners to make sure this work will benefit the whole sector.
2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission
Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission
The bushfires of Black Saturday, 7 February 2009, caused the death of 173 people. Black Saturday wrote itself into Victoria’s history with record-breaking weather conditions and bushfires of a scale and ferocity that tested human endurance.There was also widespread devastation of considerable areas of the scenic forests and woodlands that form part of Victoria’s natural heritage.
The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission was an important part of ensuring that those lessons are clearly defined and learnt. The Commission conducted an extensive investigation into the causes of, the preparation for, the response to and the impact of the fires that burned throughout Victoria in late January and February 2009. As Commissioners, we concentrated on gaining an understanding of precisely what took place and how the risks of such a tragedy recurring might be reduced.
Read the final 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission report (PDF, 2.4 MB).
Impacts of public land management practices on bushfires in Victoria
Environment and Natural Resources Committee (ENRC)
Victorian Government’s response to the Environment and Natural Resources Committee’s Inquiry into the Impact of Public Land Management Practices on Bushfires in Victoria (PDF, 1.7 MB).
Operational reviews of major fires in Victoria 2006/07.
Ross Smith, Department of Sustainability and Environment and Country Fire Authority
The purpose of this report is to focus on the key matters that were raised during reviews of fire management operations and associated continuous improvement programs, resulting from the fire activity in the 2006/07 fire season. The report is intended to capture opportunities that have been identified for consideration by an extensive self examination process involving experienced and competent local fire management personnel.
Victoria experienced a very adverse fire season during 2006/07. The area burnt, anticipated to be between 1.2 and 1.3 millions of hectares by the close of the season, matches other very severe and notable fire seasons in extent of area burnt.
Key Issues Identified from Operational Reviews of Major Fires in Victoria 2006-07 (PDF, 1.3 MB)
Key Issues Identified from Operational Reviews of Major Fires in Victoria 2006-07 (DOCX, 1.0 MB)
Response by Russell Rees, CFA Director Operations/Chief Officer and Ewan Waller, DSE, Chief Officer, Fire and Emergency Management (PDF, 89.7 KB)
Fire season debrief outcomes report 2005/06
Ross Smith, Victoria, DEPI and CFA.
The debriefing process instituted by CFA and DSE, following severe fire activity in December 2005 and January 2006, has identified matters that impact favourably on Victoria’s ability to manage high fire loads with improved community safety under severe fire weather conditions.
Debrief Outcomes Significant Victorian Fires December 2005 and January 2006 (PDF, 869.8 KB)
Response by Chief Officer CFA and Chief Officer DSE 2005-06 (PDF, 633.8 KB)
Response by Chief Officer CFA and Chief Officer DSE 2005-06 (DOCX, 47.8 KB)
Ministerial taskforce on bushfire recovery – 2005/06 fires
In response to the bushfires that significantly impacted on communities during December 2005 and January 2006. The role of the Taskforce was to assess the impact of the fires and quickly put in place a range of recovery measures that would complement recovery programs already undertaken by communities.
Report from The Ministerial Taskforce on Bushfire Recovery 2006 (PDF, 574.8 KB)
Report from The Ministerial Taskforce on Bushfire Recovery 2006 (DOCX, 453.7 KB)
Examination of prescribed burning practices
Emergency Services Commissioner, Victoria
National inquiry on bushfire mitigation and management 2014
Council of Australian Governments (COAG), Mr Stuart Ellis, Professor Peter Kanowski, Professor Rob Whelan
National inquiry on bushfire mitigation and management 2014 (PDF, 5.6 MB)
Ministerial taskforce on bushfire recovery 2002–03 fires
Final Report from The Ministerial Taskforce on Bushfire Recovery (PDF, 558.4 KB)
Final Report from The Ministerial Taskforce on Bushfire Recover (DOCX, 483.5 KB)
Fire prevention and preparedness
Fire prevention and preparedness - Auditor-General Victoria report
Inquiry into the 2002-2003 Victorian bushfires
Emergency Services Commissioner, Victoria
Report of the Inquiry into the 2002-2003 Victorian Bushfires (PDF, 6.0 MB)
Investigation and inquests into a wildfire and the deaths of five firefighters at Linton
Coroners Court Victoria
The Coronial Inquest hearings into the December 1998 Linton fire and the tragic deaths of five Geelong West volunteer firefighters (Messrs. Stuart Davidson, Garry Vredeveldt, Christopher Evans, Jason Thomas and Matthew Armstrong) took 106 hearing days and produced in excess of 11,500 pages of transcript. Over 28,000 pages of exhibit and other documents were produced during the running of the Inquests. There were over 1500 pages of submissions and replies by the legal representatives for the interested parties.
Investigation and Inquests into a Wildfire and the Deaths of Five Firefighters at Linton report (PDF, 3.6 MB)
Fire protection – Special Report No. 16
Auditor General Victoria
Report of the Bushfire Review Committee
S.I. Miller, W Carter and R.G. Stephens (1984).Report of the Bushfire Review Committee: On Bushfire Disaster Preparedness and Response in Victoria, Australia following the Ash Wednesday fires 16 February 1983. Melbourne, Australia.
Report of the Bushfire Review Committee
Learn more about the Ash Wednesday bushfires.
Led by Judge Leonard
EB Stretton to inquire into the causes of and measures taken to prevent the Black Friday bushfires.
More available on the State Library of Victoria websites.
Learn more about the Black Friday bushfires.
Page last updated: 02/07/21