What is happening

FFMVic is resuming the job of reducing fire risk on public land after the storms in 2021.

More than 3,000 hectares of hazardous storm debris has fallen across our state forests, national parks and protected public land.

Storms in June 2021 impacted around 1.97 million hectares of public land across 34 local government areas. More storms in October 2021 added to that.

Debris removal in the Cobaw and Wombat State Forests, the Dandenong Ranges and Upper Thomson water catchment is being prioritised based on fire risk.

Aerial view of a storm damaged forest

What we have done so far

Planning this complex and large task has taken time and resources.

We needed to ensure all work complied with the law and prioritised the biggest fire risk.

We also wanted to make sure we protected cultural and environmental values.

Our first priority after the storms was to reopen fire access networks, roads and tracks.

Safe, rapid access is essential for any fire suppression required in summer.

There is a need to clear finer fuels created by the storms, as these would dry out and burn during a fire.  There is also a need to remove large logs, that generate significant radiant heat, in order to reduce risk.

Our attention is now turning to the area along roadsides, to ensure our roads are safe to use, and the larger broadacre areas.

What you will see now

FFMVic will be assisted by VicForests to remove fallen and hazardous trees to reduce fire risk in:

Timber removed will be used where possible including community for firewood and commercial timber products for local construction supply.

Find out more about the works to clean up the storm debris in these locations by clicking on the the interactive map below.

The pins on the map show you:

  • roadside works in purple
  • broadacre works in orange.

If you zoom in, you will see the hatched area and the boundary of each treatment site.

Clicking on a pin or a hatched area, will provide you with information about a site, including:

  • a unique site number
  • the name of the location of where works are taking place, usually relating to a road or track
  • which organisation they are being done for, usually DEECA and sometimes on behalf of a land manager
  • a description of the status of the works, with an estimated start or finish date for the works (if available).

Further information email storm.debris@delwp.vic.gov.au

Please note that the hatched area on the map is the total site area. The area that timber is being removed from is generally only part of the site area.

The maps will be updated as value checks are finalised and checked in the field.

Public Safety Zones will be put in place prior to the works commencing on any site. This means that access will be restricted, ensuring everyone’s safety while heavy machinery is in the area. It is an offence to enter a Public Safety Zone.

VicForests' works under the Timber Utilisation Plan are not works on behalf of DEECA. VicForests may be undertaking timber harvesting operations close by to DEECA storm debris works.

More information about the VicForests project plan can be found on the VicForests website.

Environmental values

Great care has been taken to plan a program that protects Victoria’s natural values and reduces the risk of bushfires - protecting lives, properties and critical assets.

DECCA's debris operations will manage environmental, biodiversity and cultural values.

We will avoid removing standing trees, except for where they are hazardous and need to be removed for safety reasons. We will keep fallen trees that are important for protecting biodiversity values and have provided buffers to trees with hollows, which are commonly used as habitat for a range of species.

Where appropriate, a portion of material will be left in situ to provide habitat. This is balanced with the consideration of ensuring that fire risk is manageable.

As values assessments are completed and field checks occur, planning for individual sites will be undertaken. This includes defining the specific areas that are to be treated for fire risk within each site, as well as any exclusion zones and buffers needed for identifying values, to protect them during the works.

Fire risk

We will always have bushfires in Victoria, it is one of the most bushfire prone regions in the world.

The number one priority for FFMVic is to protect life and property and that is what we will continue to do.

Debris removal is prioritised based on reduced fire risk.

Fire risk is posed by drying finer debris, as well as and fallen trees and tree limbs. This poses an access and safety hazard for firefighting crews and the public.

Finer debris is being treated as a priority through planned burns and fuel management. Larger debris is being managed through a storm salvage operation.

We take every opportunity to manage our bushfire risk 365 days a year.

We use a range of different tools and methods, to give us the chance to get it done effectively with less risk.

Fuel Management includes:

  • planned burning
  • mechanical fuel management works such as:
    • clearing
    • mowing, and slashing
    • creating, construction and maintenance of strategic fuel breaks
    • carrying out fire infrastructure maintenance (i.e., fire dams).

Our year-round strategic fuel management approach gives our firefighters a better chance of controlling fires when they do occur – reducing impacts on people, property and the environment.

Page last updated: 13/02/23