Bushfire Risk Management Plan

The Kangaroo Island Bushfire Management Committee, which Kangaroo Island Council is a part of, is currently seeking funds to update this plan. Until such time the 2009-2014 plan will remain in situ.

Kangaroo Island Bushfire Risk Management Plan 2009-2014

The plan has been approved by the partner agencies - SA Country Fire Service, Department for Environment and Heritage, SA Water, and Kangaroo Island Council - and the Native Vegetation Council.

Plan Overview

  • The Kangaroo Island Bushfire Risk Management Plan provides a strategic, landscape scale bushfire risk assessment for the whole Island.
  • It has been compiled based on extensive local CFS brigade and community input, as well as data and research.
  • Prioritisation of works is on the basis of identifying human settlement, economic, environmental and cultural assets at risk from bushfire, with the areas at highest risk being treated first.
  • The plan sets out a 5 year programme of works to mitigate bushfire risk to be implemented by land management agencies, CFS, and private landholders.
  • There is much more that could be done, but there is only so much that can be achieved with available resources over a 5 year time period. The works identified in the plan are the highest priority works at this point in time.
  • Risk treatment strategies are grouped as follows:
    • hazard reduction
    • preparedness
    • community education
    • property planning

Treatment Overview

The works identified in the plan include:

  • hazard reduction burns and mechanical clearance in strategic locations throughout the island, on both public and private land, to be carried out by CFS brigades, DEH, SA Water and supported by KI Council (eg. traffic management). The purpose of these works is to support the containment of fires and protect life, property and the environment. For furtherinformation see "Hazard Reduction" below.
  • upgrade and maintenance of fire access tracks in strategic locations on public and private land, to provide safe access and egress for crews for fire suppression purposes
  • extensive community education programmes targeting high risk areas:
    • Bushfire Survival Planning
    • Focus on tourism businesses: development of emergency response plans for staffed businesses, including tour operators, and Bushfire Survival plans for self-contained accommodation
    • Specific information targeting visitors at key island entry points on Total Fire Ban days
  • development of logistical evacuation plans for day visitor areas
  • information targeting off-Island landholders to improve fire management on their land.

Hazard Reduction

In addition to annual compliance inspections, hazard reduction includes a programme of hazard reduction burns for life and asset protection and to support containment of fires in strategic locations. These burns will be carried out by land management agencies and CFS brigades, and will occur on both private and public land.

The purpose of these burns is to assist the containment of landscape scale fires under Forest Fire Danger Indexes (FFDIs) of up to Very High fire weather conditions.

A number of mechanically cleared asset protection zones are also designated in various parts of the island. These are designed to provide a safer working environment for fire crews to undertake back burning during incidents.

Vegetation management by private landholders

The plan utilises the recent changes (September 2009) to the native vegetation regulations that allow private landholders to undertake appropriate levels of vegetation clearance to protect built assets.

The table below provides a summary of exemptions and allowed clearance by application to the CFS under these regulations.

 

Reason? What can be done? Is approval needed?
To protect a building You can reduce, modify or remove native vegetation within 20m of a building (including overhanging limbs). Significant trees may be protected under Development Act 1993.  Contact your local Council for further information. No
You can modify or remove native vegetation further than 20m from a building to reduce fuel loads. Yes
To protect a structure You can reduce, modify or remove native vegetation within 5m of a structure (including overhanging limbs). Significant trees may be protected under Development Act 1993.  Contact your local Council for further information. No
You can modify or remove native vegetation further than 5m from a structure to reduce fuel loads. Yes
To reduce fuel strategically Fuel loads can be strategically reduced or modified on any private or public land. Yes
To construct a fuel break You can remove vegetation to construct a fuel break up to 5m wide. No
In some regions you can remove native vegetation to construct a fuel break up to 7.5m wide (see Appendix 2 for a list of regions). No
On a property used for primary production, you can remove native vegetation to construct a fuel break up to 20m wide. Yes
You can remove native vegetation to construct fuel breaks greater than 20m wide. Yes
To construct fire access tracks You can remove native vegetation to construct fire access tracks that are consistent with the standards detailed in Appendix 3. Yes

 

Further information can be found at: http://www.cfs.sa.gov.au/site/community_information/prepare_act_survive/native_vegetation_management.jsp

What forms of clearance can be undertaken?

Clearance can be undertaken by mechanical means or by low intensity burning. This is the sort of burning that may be undertaken to clean out leaf litter under trees near built assets during cooler conditions, such as in mid-late autumn. Providing they are managed in accordance with a few simple rules, these burns have a lower chance of escaping the area being burnt, and are therefore considered lower risk.

Check the table above for exempt works and those works for which you need to seek approval from the CFS.

Can larger areas of native vegetation be burnt?

Under the new native vegetation regulations, burning larger areas of native vegetation for hazard reduction or ecological management purposes can be undertaken on private land. However, these burns will generally be moderate or high intensity burns. This means that they are 'hotter' burns with significant flame heights, and the risk of these burns escaping the target area is greater.

Because they are higher risk, and the environmental implications of these burns over larger areas also need to be considered, they require an approved agency burn plan and the attendance of a fire agency - the local CFS brigade, and/or other land management agencies with fire fighting capability such as DEH.

Can I get assistance to burn on my land?

For Kangaroo Island, local CFS brigades have identified burns in their area which are considered a priority for fire management over the next 5 years (2009-2014) as part of developing the KIBFRMP. These burns have been included in the KIBFRMP and will be completed ahead of any private landholder requests for assistance with burns on private land.

This means that landholders may approach their local brigade and seek assistance to undertake prescribed burning on their land, but the response will depend upon the capacity of the brigade - remember these people are volunteers! - to take on the extra works in addition to those they have already committed to in the KIBFRMP.

Interpreting the Plan Maps

The maps show the following information:

  • Asset Table (top right hand corner):
    Assets at risk from bushfire to be treated during the five year life of the risk plan are listed in the table in the top right hand corner of the maps.
  • Treatment Table (bottom left hand corner):
    The numbered treatments for each asset are briefly described in the table at the bottom left hand corner of the maps. The full description of the treatments can be found in the Treatment Register. The agencies responsible for implementing these treatments are also listed in this table.

Not all treatments for an asset are shown on the maps   (eg. community education strategies, fire access tracks).  Some are just described in text-refer to the treatment table on the maps and the Treatment Register for further details.

Important points to note:

  • Only assets with asset specific risk treatment strategies allocated during the 5 year life of the risk plan are listed in the asset table on the maps. You can find all other assets in the Asset Register.
  • Bushfire management zone numbers (white numbers on black background) are not treatment numbers.
  • The thick yellow lines on the maps are the boundaries of the Map Display Areas-they have no other meaning.

 

Preparedness Strategies

Preparedness strategies include:

  • preparation of logistical evacuation plans for key day visitor locations around the island;
  • emergency response plans for staffed tourism businesses and commercial tour operators; and,
  • the identification, maintenance and upgrade of a network of fire access tracks in strategic locations.

Implementation Process

  • The land management agencies (DEH, Council and SA Water) and the CFS will work together on the implementation of the plan.
  • An annual works plan will be prepared and agreed by the agencies, and reviewed at the end of each season. The works plan will prioritise works in the highest risk areas.
  • Local CFS brigades have volunteered to undertake a significant programme of prescribed burning to support the implementation of the plan.
  • Completion of works will be based on available resources.
  • SA CFS has recently been allocated funding to provide additional Community Education officers in high risk areas of the State until 30 June 2010. As part of this allocation, Kangaroo Island will have a half time CFS Community Education Officer who will assist in delivery of community education in the highest risk areas.
Kangaroo Island Council | 43 Dauncey St (PO Box 121) KINGSCOTE SA 5223
Phone: 08 8553 4500 | Fax: 08 8553 2885 | Email: kicouncil@kicouncil.sa.gov.au
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