Bushfire Mitigation Works Program
Council manages only a small percentage of land in Nillumbik and works in partnership with other public landholders and private property owners to prepare for the fire season.
Council has a program of bushfire prevention and preparation works throughout the year to:
- reduce fuel loads in our parks and reserves and on our roadsides
- to help keep roads and fire tracks clear and accessible
- maintain and provide access to water tanks for emergency services
- prevent vegetation from coming in contact with electric lines
The purpose of the works is to mitigate (reduce) the potential of threat to life, property and the environment including native wildlife and endangered species, and includes:
- Assessment and fuel reduction including brush cutting, removal of excessive woody debris and woody weeds, thinning of shrubby vegetation and mowing in parks, bushland reserves and open spaces to maintain established fuel management zones and help mitigate the intensity and spread of fire
- Box clearance (removal of vegetation around the required clear zone of the road) to keep roads clear and accessible in an emergency
- Assessment and maintenance of trees affected by 2009 bushfires to keep roads clear and accessible in an emergency.
September–early December, March–May
- Planned burns, weather conditions permitting, to reduce fuel loads which helps reduce the intensity and spread of fire
- Tree hazard assessment, pruning and removal on roadsides to keep roads clear and accessible in an emergency
- Inspection and maintenance of fire access tracks including road surface, gates and locks, trees, vegetation, drainage and repairs to vandalism to allow access in a fire
- Maintenance of water tanks and surrounding area to provide access to water for emergency services
- Clearing vegetation from electric lines in some areas of the Shire, taking in parts of Eltham, Eltham North, Diamond Creek, Plenty and Greensborough, plus a small number of streets in Wattle Glen and Research, to prevent vegetation from coming in contact with electric lines and starting a fire
- Roadside mowing to reduce fuel loads, allow line of sight and keep roads clear in an emergency
Council’s Bushfire Mitigation (Fire Prevention) Works Program(PDF, 78KB) is reviewed and developed each year in consultation with the Municipal Fire Management Planning Committee which includes the CFA, local brigades, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Parks Victoria and other key stakeholders. We are also guided by our Bushfire Mitigation Strategy 2019-2023. This strategy adopts a broad set of strategic priorities including risk-based fuel management.
The program is reviewed and continually evolves as we learn more about fire science and behaviour, and as the landscape changes. We aim to get the best value for money for the community while reducing fire risk where possible and this means the works program may change annually as new roads are included and others are removed. However, when conditions are Severe, Extreme and Code Red, vegetation management only plays a very small part in stopping the spread of a fire.
Most works are scheduled to be finished by 1 December each year, which balances the potential start of the Fire Danger Period, pre-booking contractors, beginning of summer weather patterns and the Christmas holiday period. This timing can alter by a couple of weeks due to extreme weather, a longer growing season and site accessibility.
We work with our contractors to schedule works as late as possible to maximise benefit and value, for example, we want grass to be cured (dried out) before we cut so we only need to do it once, but need to start early enough so works are finished ahead of the peak fire season. Peak fire season is dependent on summer weather patterns, but is often around January.
If you are concerned about the fire risk in a specific area, please contact us on 9433 3111 to discuss your concerns and a Fire Prevention Officer will undertake an inspection.