The Kangaroo Island District Bushfire Prevention Committee (KIDBPC), in collaboration with the Kangaroo Island community, the SA Country Fire Service, the Department for Environment and Heritage, Kangaroo Island Council, SA Water, and the SA Bushfire Prevention Advisory Committee (SABPAC), has prepared a new bush fire risk management plan (BFRMP) for the Island - the KI BFRMP.
What is a Bushfire Risk Management Plan?
A Bushfire Risk Management Plan is a strategic level document that:
Steps in developing the Kangaroo Island Bushfire Risk Management Plan
Assets at risk from bushfire on Kangaroo Island
The assessment of assets at risk from bushfire in the Kangaroo Island landscape has identified that 55.65% of all assets identified as being at risk from bushfire impact are at extreme or very high risk. (See graph at left)
Based on the limited resources available for bushfire mitigation, the KIDBPC has determined to focus on treating areas of extreme risk and, where possible, areas of very high risk over the 5 year life of the plan.
A range of district wide treatments (see below) also support the treatment of all areas.
A number of settlement areas rated as being of high, medium or low risk have been targeted for treatment on the basis that failure to continue routine treatment of these areas could result in an unacceptable increase in the risk of bushfire attack.
Bushfire Management Zones
Zoning is commonly used in land management planning as a way of identifying appropriate management objectives for different parts of the landscape.
There are three types of bushfire management zone used in the KI BFRMP (see table below).
These zones are based on a national approach to bushfire management zoning signed off by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in 2005.
Treating the Risk
There are two types of 'risk treatment' within the KI BFRMP:
Summary of AssetSpecific Treatment Strategies
District Wide Risk Treatments
The following district wide treatments are included in the KI BFRMP:
Responsible agencies for implementation of these treatments are set out in the KI BFRMP.
Risk and hazard
The Kangaroo Island Bushfire Risk Management Plan (KI BFRMP) is based upon assessed bushfire risk. This is a different approach for bushfire management planning in South Australia, where previous bushfire prevention plans have been primarily based on fuel hazard assessment.
All fuel can be a potential bushfire hazard. However, one of the lessons learned from the Kangaroo Island Fires Complex in December 2007 was that if only hazard is considered in fire management planning, as has been done in the past, we have no objective basis treating for those areas that are at most risk of bushfire attack. This is because all fuel hazards are considered of equal priority, regardless of where they are located or the fire history in the area.
Risk assessment is based upon likelihood and consequence (refer diagram at right) and supports the allocation of a range of appropriate treatments, including hazard reduction, community education and property planning.
Based on historical experience, and the very good quality data we have on fire history for Kangaroo Island, we know that there are some areas of the Island that experience frequent fire, and others that have rarely experienced fire.
Input from CFS brigades and the community, together with land management agency data and expertise, has also informed the risk assessment in the KI BFRMP. Many brigade members and farmers on the Island have decades of experience of fire in this landscape, and their knowledge of where and how bushfire can be contained in the Kangaroo Island landscape has been invaluable in developing the KI BFRMP.
This information has been fed into the risk assessment in the KI BFRMP which is based upon the Australian Standard 4360 (2004) for Risk Management. It has been undertaken based on community, brigade and land management agency input using software provided by the NSW Rural Fire Service.
The risk assessment was then reviewed in detail by a working group comprised of representatives from CFS KI Group, CFS Region 1, the KIDBPC, DEH and KI Council, before being endorsed by the KIDBPC as the basis for allocating risk treatments for the Island.
"Fire thresholds" refers to the concept of 'thresholds of potential concern' for a vegetation type or community. The 'concern' relates to the potential impacts of a fire regime on a vegetation type or community.
Thresholds of potential concern are developed by assessing the response of key species to different fire regimes. A fire regime is made up of the following elements:
A fire threshold map of the Island can viewed HERE (2.239MB)
The lower fire threshold is the recommended lower limit for fire interval in a particular vegetation association, while the upper threshold is the upper limit. Elements of intensity, type and season are also recommended based on species response to fire. Key fire response species are likely to significantly decline if these elements are exceeded.
For example, if the inter-fire interval is less than the specified time, species that take longer to flower and set seed can disappear from a community. Likewise, if a burn is of an inappropriate intensity, seed may not germinate.
The fire thresholds for the KI BFRMP and existing land management agency plans are based upon 'best available' research and information. It is recognised that there are significant gaps in fire ecology knowledge for Kangaroo Island.
Research projects, such as the Eastern Plains Fire Trial (* see below) currently being conducted on the Island, are critical to improving our knowledge base to inform management strategies into the future. For this reason, the KI BFRMP identifies the impacts of prescribed burn treatments proposed in the plan as an area to be monitored, subject to available resources.
The table below sets out the best available current fire regime information for Kangaroo Island:
The KI BFRMP is a South Australian Pilot Project
The KI BFRMP is a South Australian pilot of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) bushfire risk management planning framework. Detailed information on the NSW RFS planning framework is available on the RFS website: