Upper Beaconsfield Bushfire Fuel Management Project
In 2019 Council worked with the Upper Beaconsfield community to:
- identify ways to improve fuel management in Upper Beaconsfield to reduce the incidence and impact of fire.
- establish the community’s fuel management priorities
- develop ways to achieve sustainable fuel management priorities.
This project was funded by the Victorian Government’s Safer Together Program.
Project team and methodology
- A community project team was developed, comprised of members of key community stakeholders/groups. This project team worked with Council and representatives from land and fire agencies to achieve the project outcomes.
- At all stages of the project, the community was responsible for decision making, with Council and fire agency representatives providing expert advice and information in support.
Project team members
- Bob Taylor, Recreation Reserve Committee
- Adrian Hall, UB Community House
- Stewart Matulis, Cardinia Shire Council
- Pam Goode, Brennan Ave Fireguard
- Bev Sinclair, Brennan Ave Fireguard
- Ian Pinney, UB Country Fire Authority
- Dean Binstead, Parks Victoria
- Malcom Graham, UB Festival Committee
- Eric Bumpstead, UB Association Resilience
- Cam Rocke, UBA Association Resilience
- Gareth George, Country Fire Authority
- Harry Jensen, Hugdenson Rd Fireguard
- Paul Higgott, Friends of BNCR
- Veronica Foster, Emergency Management Victoria
- Geoff Lockwood, Cardinia Environment Coalition
- Michael Hill, UBA Conservation
- Caroline Spencer, Upper Beaconsfield Association
- Glen Brooks-McMillan, Southern Ranges Environment Alliance
Improved community capacity
- A Community Fuel Management Committee made up of representatives of 12 community groups and 4 agency representatives was formed with the support of Council.
- Community engagement training for 4 community committee members was provided.
Improved knowledge of community risk
Council hosted a Community Fuel Management Information Day in Upper Beaconsfield in March 2019. This event provided residents and project members with expert information about fuel management strategies, bushfire risk in Upper Beaconsfield and the effect fuel management could have on these risks.
The day was well attended with 37 community members taking part.
- 81% of the attendees felt their knowledge of bushfire risk and fuel management had been improved.
- 65% of the attendees felt better prepared for the future in regard to bushfire risk and fuel management.
Greater understanding of community views and priorities
In-depth community engagement took place to establish the community’s fuel management priorities for Upper Beaconsfield.
- 15 community groups were surveyed.
- 47 ideas from residents were collected via a drop-in stall and online forum created for the project.
- 358 residents engaged with the online forum.
Community fuel management actions developed
Using the feedback and ideas collected via the community engagement process and information day, the Community Fuel Management Committee chose 3 priorities to be developed into community action strategies:
- Promote Community Fireguard, a CFA initiative aimed at increasing bushfire preparedness within communities in geographically high-risk areas.
- A resource package will be created to support new groups and an advertisement campaign will encourage residents to take part.
Open air burning advocacy
- Support the community to remove fuel on private property via open air burning.
- An advocacy document will be produced for submission to Council advocating for greater opportunities for bushfire fuel management as well as a fridge magnet promoting safe best practice open air burning by residents.
Fuel Management Zoning
Based on the experience of Monbulk, a community working group has been established with the aim of creating fuel management zones in Upper Beaconsfield using the Bushfire Fuel Management Guide.
Upper Beaconsfield Bushfire and Biodiversity Tool
As a continuation of the Bushfire Fuel Management Project, the Upper Beaconsfield community supported by Cardinia Shire Council, land and fire agencies, academics, environment and fire experts developed the Upper Beaconsfield Bushfire and Biodiverity Tool. This tool is designed to support residents to identify actions that can be taken to protect what they value most from the risk of bushfire. The tool supports residents to make informed decisions. For more information please see the Upper Beaconsfield Bushfire and Biodiverity Tool Website.