14 April 2023

Help agencies plan to manage the Far South Coast's bushfire risk

| Albert McKnight
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roos after bushfire

The bleak aftermath of the Black Summer bushfires on the NSW South Coast. Photo: Kim Treasure.

The devastation caused by the Black Summer fires in 2019-2020 is still fresh in the minds of Far South Coast locals, who are being asked to give their thoughts on how the bushfire risk is managed in the region over the next five years.

Fire agencies and land managers are developing a Bush Fire Risk Management Plan for the area and the community is invited to participate.

The plan will map and describe the level of bushfire risk across the area and set out treatment strategies to reduce the risk of bushfires and better protect the community over a five-year period.

A public survey has been launched, which is one way the Far South Coast Bush Fire Management Committee gathers feedback from the community to assist with the risk planning process.

“It’s been proven that community-led and community involvement in risk reduction is key to success,” Far South Coast bushfire risk management committee acting executive officer Daniel Osborne said.

READ ALSO Post-fire exhibition shows regenerative nature of Snowy Valleys forests

He said the plan was a five-year strategy about how to identify risk across the Far South Coast and assign treatments to address that risk. Its ultimate goal is to reduce and manage risk.

Mr Osborne said the current plan hadn’t been reviewed since the Black Summer, when there were “some significant lessons learnt”.

It is the first time the agencies have sought the community’s input in the early stages of the plan’s development.

“We’re hoping to get a better understanding of what they would like us to focus on and better protect over the next five years,” Mr Osborne said.

The area under the plan spans 973,089 hectares and covers the Bega Valley and Eurobodalla Shires. During the Black Summer fires, 628,735 ha were burnt.

The Far South Coast has about 83 per cent bushland and 14 per cent grassland, with the balance being the built environment or water.

READ ALSO Rains bring relief for Far South Coast’s bushfire potential this autumn

“A bush or grass fire can happen at any time of the year, but the risk is higher during the warmer months, when bush, grass or scrub is drier,” the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) said.

To complete the five-minute survey for the plan, click on this link. All residents and landholders in the Far South Coast are encouraged to take part.

The survey is open until 31 May. For more information, contact NSW RFS Far South Coast on 6494 7400 or 4474 2855.

“Bushfires can affect our homes, livelihoods and communities with devastating consequences, as we saw during the Black Summer fires,” Mr Osborne said.

“Your input will provide valuable insights that enable the Bush Fire Management Committee to prioritise works around the communities, places, spaces, resources and assets that the community are concerned about.”

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