Christmas Hills Fire Brigade and Fire-Scape

Christmas Hills Fire Brigade and the Christmas Hills Landcare Group recently completed a successful demonstration planned burn as part of CFA’s pilot Fire-Scape Program.

Fire-Scape is a CFA initiative which facilitates cooperation between fire management agencies and community organisations such as Landcare and other land managers, to work together to introduce more planned burns.

Fire-Scape addresses fire management from both asset protection and biodiversity conservation perspectives. The Program is explained in more detail here

The demonstration burn, carried out on a bush property in Christmas Hills in April 2015, showed community members what's involved in planning and carrying out a burn, and to encourage them to develop a community fire management plan at a local scale.

Although small, the burn was the culmination of a number of community consultations over 12 months, burn site selection, burn plan preparation, and the actual site preparation and burn. The burn was conducted by Christmas Hills Fire Brigade, with the burn controller being provided by CFA. The burn process was explained to participating residents by Parks Victoria and Landcare.

All three Christmas Hills Brigade trucks were in attendance along with about 20 firefighters. The site was unbounded on three sides, so considerable effort was directed at constructing and patrolling a mineral earth break around the site, and later on blacking out the perimeter with the least site disturbance (see more on the Christmas Hills Fire Brigade Facebook page).

The next step in the process is for the site to be monitored by Landcare in order to document the ecological outcomes of the burn. This burn-off marks the completion of the Fire-Scape pilot program, and the brigade is keen to apply the experience it has gained to more planned burning in the brigade’s area.

Author: Robyn Adams