Victoria, Australia — A new report into the impact of public land management practices on bushfires in Victoria has confirmed that the State is experiencing more intense and frequent fires in areas where more and more people are living, and that management strategies have to change.
The State Government has received the report from the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, which states that the increased length, frequency and intensity of the fires has come against a backdrop of on-going drought.
While a formal response to the inquiry won’t be given for another six months, State Environment and Climate Change Minister, Gavin Jennings, says the Government has already begun developing its “strategic thinking for a new approach to land and fire management”.
“We need to make sure we learn from events such as the 2003 Alpine and 2006/07 Great Divide Fires,” Mr Jennings said.
“We are better preparing Victoria for the real and increasing threat of bushfire.
“There is a need to change the way the fire agencies share knowledge about bushfire in the Victorian landscape.
“It will also mean working with communities to make sure people are aware of the need to do more.”
To reduce the threat of bushfires this autumn the Department of Environment and Sustainability conducted planned burns in more than 150,000 hectares of Victoria’s parks and forests.
“The Government is also taking action to ensure our emergency services are well-equipped to meet the challenges of bushfires in Victoria,” Mr Jennings said.
“Before the most recent bushfire season we injected an additional $27.3 million to help DSE/CFA to prepare for the season ahead, including $2.7 million for a campaign to raise awareness, extended look-out observers to increase early detection of fires, extended aircraft monitoring capacity with a new second aircrane to partner Elvis, and provided significant support to assist and maintain volunteer capacity in drought-affected communities.
“In this year’s State Budget we injected $20 million to help emergency services volunteers, including $12.8 million to replace more than 10,400 of the CFA’s emergency hand held and vehicle radios.
“We will also need to put more effort into planned burning to begin the process of reducing the risk of intense landscape-scale fires.”