Planning is underway to strengthen and expand Gippsland’s network of strategic fuel breaks as part of the Victorian Government’s $35 million investment in bushfire management to reduce the risk of bushfires to the community and environment.

A fuel break is a strip of land with less fuel available for a bushfire to burn. Fuel breaks are constructed by permanently modifying the vegetation structure through mulching, slashing, select tree and hazardous tree removal.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer for Gippsland Geoff Conway said: “Fuel breaks are critical to protecting communities, catchments and the environment from bushfires.

“They do this by making it easier, faster and safer for firefighters to suppress fires and reduce fuel loads in key areas.

“The new breaks will build on existing tracks, where possible, creating an area of fuel reduced land around the towns where fire management activities can be completed, including back-burning, planned burns, mulching and slashing,” he said.

“An expanded network of fuel breaks will support the implementation of a sustained planned burning program and complement community and private landholder actions undertaken to reduce bushfire risk,” Mr Conway said.

To determine locations for the new fuel breaks, Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) are undertaking a process of risk analysis and working with land and fire mangers such as Parks Victoria, CFA and Traditional Owners, to ensure they provide the greatest risk reduction to landscapes and assets, whilst considering impacts on biodiversity and cultural heritage.

Over the coming months, FFMVic will engage with the community inclusive of residents, environment groups, landholders and business owners where strategic fuel breaks are proposed to provide information and seek feedback. This is to ensure that any concerns or aspirations the community have are understood and considered prior to the break locations being finalised.

Also included in this program is completion of the existing 257km long Cowwarr-Bruthen fuel break. This break was built during the 2019-20 bushfires and reduces the risk of bushfires for communities in and around Cowwarr, Seaton, Glenmaggie, Coongulla, Upper Maffra, Valencia Creek, Briagolong, Glenaladale, Cobbanah, Wuk Wuk, Flaggy Creek, Bullumwaal, Mount Taylor, Clifton Creek,  Waterholes, Wiseleigh, Sarsfield and Bruthen.

For more information, please contact the FFMVic Gippsland strategic fuel breaks team via sfb.gippsland@delwp.vic.gov.au

All work will be carried out in line with current public health measures, for up-to-date information visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au