Bushfire Risk Management
Practical Ecology understands that the management of native vegetation also requires managing the associated bushfire risk. Our integrated approach ensures that bushfire risk management is not considered in isolation, but also considers other, potentially conflicting ecological and environmental land management and legislative objectives and requirements. This approach ensures our clients’ understand the full implications of management decisions and design choices to effectively achieve a practical balance between development, bushfire risk and environmental protection.
We are a member of the Fire Protection Association of Australia and maintain accreditation under its Victorian Bushfire Planning and Design (BPAD) Accreditation Scheme (http://www.fpaa.com.au/bpad.aspx). We also maintain accreditation as a Bushfire Hazard Practitioner under the Tasmanian Fire Service.
Practical Ecology continues its long-history of helping both private and public land-managers better manage bushfire risk through a number of key services. These include:
- Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment for Bushfire-Prone Areas;
- Bushfire Hazard Management Plans (Tasmania)
- Bushfire Management Statements (Victoria)
- Bushland Reserve Fire Management Plans; and
- Other bushfire risk management consulting for re-zoning, strategic land management and public and private land managing organisations.
Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessments for Bushfire Prone-Areas
Building in a Bushfire Prone Area (BPA) may require a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment and consequent construction standards as per Australian Standard3959-2009: Construction of Buildings in Bushfire-prone Areas. ).
The assessment takes in matters such as the target FDI (Fire Danger Index), the ground slope, vegetation type and distribution to determine the BAL. There are five BAL levels ranging from levels BAL-12.5 to BAL-FZ (Flame Zone). A site design that responds to the bushfire risk can dramatically reduce the BAL to provide a better bushfire risk outcome and also avoiding expensive and restrictive construction standards in the future.
We can prepare a BAL assessment as a standalone document, or integrate it into our ecological assessments to fully address both the ecological and bushfire risk issues associated with a particular site.
Bushfire Hazard Management Plans (Tasmania)
Under Planning Directive No. 5 – Bushfire Prone Areas Code, developments in Bushfire Prone-Areas may require the preparation of a Bushfire Hazard Management Plan (BHMP) by an accredited practitioner. Practical Ecology maintains accreditation with the Tasmanian Fire Service (http://www.fire.tas.gov.au/Show?pageId=colBuildingForBushfire). We assist in providing BHMPs that provide practical guidance and outcomes to ensure bushfire safety planning and design objectives are achieved that satisfy the proponent, TFS and planning authority requirements.
Bushfire Management Statements (BMS) (Victoria)
Development in a Bushfire Management Overlay may require the preparation of Bushfire Management Statement in order to obtain planning approval.
As part of the preparation of our Bushfire Management Statement’s we:
- commence with a desktop review of relevant information
- undertake a site assessment to determine bushfire risk and other relevant information
- collaborate with you on the planning and design to ensure the development proposal manages bushfire risk appropriately and other considerations such as minimising ecological impacts
- prepare a detailed report that meets the relevant requirements of the Bushfire Management Overlay in the context of the site and development proposal
- Prepare maps that show the existing site conditions and the proposed Bushfire Development Plan.
Bushland Reserve Fire Management Plans
Managing bushland effectively requires management of the risk of bushfire and also managing the ecological need for fire integral to much of the Australian environment. Practical Ecology prepares Fire Management Plans to address both bushfire safety and ecological fire regime management. Often we incorporate these considerations into comprehensive Ecological and Fire Management Plans or provide Fire Management Plans to complement the existing ecological information and management frameworks.
Our plans involve a detailed assessment of values and assets (e.g. built, social, ecological) at risk from fire (too much or lack of it) to inform a detailed options analysis and the provision of the most ecologically appropriate solution that also provides the effective treatment and management of bushfire risk. This exemplifies our ability in not only assessing bushfire risk but also providing a framework of response in order to achieve effective and ecologically sensitive management outcomes.
Other Bushfire Management services
Practical Ecology provide numerous other bushfire management services to meet the needs of individuals and organisations. This may be in the form of specialist advice for strategic planning and planning approvals such as assessment, reporting and representation for planning authorities, planning panels or VCAT; bushfire management planning to meet the unique needs of a particular organisation or other tailored assessment of bushfire risk, fire behaviour modelling and specialist bushfire management needs.
As part of our on-ground ecological restoration and land management services, Practical Ecology has a team of qualified and experienced personnel able to undertake prescribed burns for both ecological and fuel reduction outcomes. We have the ability to fully plan and conduct prescribed burn operations, from small targeted areas to achieve a desired response from a particular plant species, through to larger broad scale prescribed burn operations conducted in both built up urban areas as well as more regional ones.
From initial planning through to the implementation of on-ground works following a burn, Practical Ecology brings a practical and realistic perspective to all projects to ensure quality outcomes on-the-ground. All prescribed burn operations are comprehensively covered with public liability insurance and staffed with general wildfire trained and accredited Practical Ecology staff. We have a Nationally accredited ‘Burn Boss’ able to plan and conduct burns.
As part of our prescribed burning service we can undertake:
- Ecological Burns – broad-scale application of fire to promote ecosystem reinstatement and function from a specific response of plant species or vegetation type
- Biomass Reduction Burns- broad-scale application of fire to reduce weed cover and biomass for ongoing management and restoration of indigenous vegetation
- Fuel Reduction Burns – broad-scale application of fire to reduce overall fuel hazard within a set management zone
- Candling/Bark burning – application of fire to selected tree species to reduce overall bark fuel hazard risks
- Pile Burns and Fuel Modification – burning of heaped piles of cut plant material (e.g. wind-row burning) or selected removal and management of fuel types within set management zones (e.g. removal of elevated fuels as to aid in reducing radiant heat impacts onto neighbouring properties).
Our contracting services personnel are equipped to undertake any on-ground works, ecological photo point monitoring, pre and post burn vegetation management, such as revegetation, weed management, fencing and direct seeding.