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‘FireScape’ in Barongarook
An ecological burn on Tuesday 30 April capped off a successful pilot program, FireScape, being trialled in Barongarook.
Twenty-five local, eager residents participated in the program that involved two full-day workshops, including the observation of a planned burn on a participant’s property.
Although the first two earlier scheduled planned burn days were defeated by the wind, conditions on Tuesday were ideal to complete both mosaic candling and fuel reduction across the property. Observing a planned burn was an invaluable lesson for participants about burning within safe prescriptions, appropriate preparation of the site, matching resources to the burn requirements, and the difference in timing and technique between a fuel reduction burn and an ecological burn.
FireScape is a new CFA initiative in Victoria based on the highly-respected NSW Hotspots Program, and is being developed in Barongarook, south of Colac, and in two locations in Fish Creek in Gippsland by the Vegetation Management Team this year.
Focusing on communities in extreme fire-risk areas, and with significant native vegetation on private properties, FireScape delivers community education and support to enable environmentally-appropriate planned burning as part of a community strategic burn plan (CSBP).
The program workshops and the resulting CSBP identify local bushfire risk and fire ecology requirements on both a community and property scale. This enables the development of a long-term strategy for mosaic planned burns as a means to improve the overall health of the natural landscape while achieving targeted fuel reduction.
This program will link strategically into existing vegetation management plans, risk landscape planning, integrated fire management plans, fire operations plans and other locally important planning processes.
Providing a different approach to managing private properties for fire as part of an overall bushfire survival plan, the program is strongly compatible with Community Fireguard, Fire Conversations and Landcare. Four of the participants have also already taken advantage of the Home Bushfire Advice Service (HBAS).
The next stages of FireScape in Barongarook is to work with all the participants to develop appropriate burn plans for the CSBP, integrate these plans into the local planned burns program for the next five to10 years, and continue to develop the program for future roll-out to other at-risk communities.
Many thanks to the crew that conducted the burn, the local participants, the enthusiastic hosts of the workshops and burn, and the support team of CFA and DEPI staff and volunteers for making sure
this exciting pilot program is so successful.