The Enhanced Bushfire Management Program (EBMP) was established by the NSW Government in 2011 and has been extended until 2022. This state-wide program is a key part of the government’s approach to address predicted worsening fire weather conditions and climate change.
- supports an increase in hazard reduction activity, with a 5-year commitment of treating, on average,135,000 hectares of bushland each year
- uses a strategic approach to plan hazard reduction operations by prioritising and targeting bushfire prone areas to reduce risk to the community
- increases the bush fire response capability in NSW parks and reserves through increased capacity and resources
- provides dedicated rapid aerial response teams (RARTs) positioned in strategic locations in high-risk bushfire areas
- promotes partnerships between NPWS, the NSW Rural Fire Service and other NSW fire agencies, key stakeholders and the community
- contributes to an enhanced bushfire research program that improves our understanding of fire to ensure effective fire management
- supports work that regularly monitors and evaluates the effectiveness of hazard reduction and bushfire response activities to ensure continual improvement and adaptive management
- facilitates work to raise community awareness of the importance of fire management in NSW parks and reserves.
The NSW Government committed more than $76 million from 2011 to 2017 to fund the program, including the employment of an additional 94 firefighters. The government has now extended the EBMP to 2022, and committed a further $74 million over 5 years.
The new funds will allow the program to sustain the previous achievements in hazard reduction activity and maintain bushfire response capacity. The focus of the extended program will include implementation of an improved risk planning model for hazard reduction activities.
Since the start of the EBMP in 2011:
- The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has carried out hazard reduction burns covering more than 680,000 hectares on NSW parks and reserves. This is more than double the previous 5-year total.
- NPWS rapid aerial response teams responded to 100% of fires within 30 minutes of detection, and close to 90% of fires were kept below 10 hectares in size.
- NPWS has undertaken 80% of the total hazard reduction burning effort recorded in NSW, despite managing less than 9% of the state.
- Hazard reduction burning is dependent on weather conditions and there are limited opportunities in which these operations can take place.
Under the Rural Fires Act 1997, NPWS has a statutory obligation as a public authority to take steps to prevent bushfire occurring and to minimise the danger of the spread of a bushfire on or from the land it manages. NPWS also has responsibilities under this act to take all practicable steps to extinguish fires. NPWS is one of NSW’s 4 firefighting authorities under this Act.
Under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, NPWS has legislative responsibility for the protection of all Aboriginal heritage in NSW, for cultural heritage on NPWS-managed lands, and for the protection of all plants and animals in NSW.