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AFAC Independent Operational Review of the 2018-19 bushfires


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Planned Burning in Tasmania 2009

The full version of Planned Burning in Tasmania 2009 can be downloaded as a PDF File [1 795 KB]

Executive Summary

The Tasmanian fire management agencies, the Tasmania Fire Service, Forestry Tasmania and the Parks and Wildlife Service, through the Tasmanian Fire Research Fund, have conducted a review of planned burning guidelines and methodologies. These revised guidelines aim to minimise the risk of adverse outcomes from planned burning whilst also ensuring that the burning is performed safely and meets fire management objectives.

Planned burning is the deliberate use of fire under specified conditions for the purposes of fuel management, ecological management, promoting agricultural green pick and weed management. This review does not cover silvicultural regeneration burning.

Fire is a fundamental aspect of the Australian environment, with many vegetation types requiring periodic fire to maintain ecological values. However, not all fires are desirable. Fires may occur under conditions that threaten human life and property, may be too frequent, too intense, cause temporary reductions to air quality and/or disruptions to the public.

Planned burning has an important role in reducing adverse impacts, but is not a panacea for all fire management problems. Planned burning can decrease wildfire risk by reducing fuel hazards, and enhance ecological management by increasing fire regime variability. However, it needs to be performed in conjunction with a wide range of risk management strategies, including public education, effective training of personnel and resourcing of wildfire suppression, along with appropriate management of ecological values.

This review addresses these issues by providing an assessment of the available literature and summarising the outcomes of meetings with experienced planned burning practitioners. Updated guidelines for planned burning in dry eucalypt forests, heathlands, dry scrub, wet scrub, buttongrass moorland, native grasslands and for weed management have been developed. A critical aspect of these revised guidelines is the linking of clearly defined objectives with measurable outcomes. The review includes the following main sections:

  • • review scope and background information -
  • • revised guidelines for conducting planned burning -
  • • background information for performing planned burning -
  • • review of the literature, existing practices, expert opinion, knowledge gaps and further information required - references -
  • • appendices:
    • - glossary of relevant fire management terms
    • - fire behaviour prediction equations for use in Tasmania.

The planned burning guidelines and methodologies covered by this review should be reassessed in 10 years time, or earlier if required by Tasmanian fire management agencies.