Mechanical Bushfire Fuel Load Reduction Programme

​​National Bushfire Mitigation Programme

The National Bushfire Mitigation Programme (NBMP) provided $15 million over three years to states and territories to implement long-term bushfire mitigation strategies and improved fuel reduction activities. The programme is an Australian Government Election Commitment (2013).

Of the $15 million programme funding, $1.5 million was allocated to undertake mechanical fuel load reduction trials as a bushfire mitigation measure.

The NBMP links into broader disaster resilience strategies being implemented by the Attorney-General’s Department.

Mechanical Bushfire Fuel Load Reduction Trials

The Australian Government provided $1.5 million, under a National Partnership with the NSW Government, to undertake the trials .

The trials are investigating whether mechanical fuel load reduction can reduce bushfire risk in an economical, socially acceptable and environmentally sound manner around key assets, such as conservation areas or townships, where prescribed burning is undesirable for a range of reasons.

The trials are gathering scientific, cost-benefit and social attitude evidence from a variety of forest types across Australia.

Governance structure

The project is being managed by the NSW Government, with an Oversight Committee managing the governance and selection of trials.

The committee is made up from members of the:

  • Australian Forests Products Association
  • Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
  • Forest Fire Management Group
  • NSW Department of Industry, Skills and Regional Development (known as the NSW Department of Industry).

The Oversight Committee formed a Technical Working Group of forest fire experts, including land and bushfire managers and bushfire mitigation academics. The working group provides technical advice to the committee.

Trial locations and consultancies

Three trial locations and providers were contracted:

  • the Mid-North Coast of NSW trials were delivered by NSW Forestry Corporation
  • the East Gippsland Victoria trials were delivered by VicForests, and
  • the south west region of Western Australia trials were delivered by the University of the Sunshine Coast in partnership with the Forest Products Commission Western Australia, the Department of Parks and Wildlife Western Australia, and Western Australia Plantation Resources.

In addition, consultants were also contracted to determine whether Mechanical Bushfire Fuel Reduction, compared to fuel reduction burning, is:

  • acceptable to the community
  • cost effective
  • mechanically feasible, and
  • reducing fire risk across the landscape.

The trials began in spring 2016 and final results will be available in 2021.

Findings

The University of Canberra has delivered a study of community acceptance of mechanical fuel load reduction.

Independent Report on social attitudes to mechanical fuel load reduction PDF PDF Icon [3 MB, 123 pages].

This report was not prepared by the department and may not meet Australian Government accessibility guidelines. If you require an accessible version of the report, please contact its author.

More information

If you need more information, contact the Project Officer in the NSW Department of Industry.

Email: John Samuel
Phone: 02 9842 8589

Last reviewed: 17 April 2020
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