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 extended the EBMP to 2022, and committed a further $92 million over 5 years from July 2017.
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.
- The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has carried out hazard reduction burns covering more than 1,000,000 hectares on NSW parks and reserves since the start of the EBMP in 2011.
- Over the last 5 years, NPWS has treated an average of 129,500 hectares annually, totalling more than 647,000 hectares of hazard reduction activities on park.
- For the 2018/19 fire season, NPWS rapid aerial response teams responded to 100% of fires within 30 minutes of detection, and 91% of fires were kept below 10 hectares in size.
- On average, NPWS undertakes around 75% of the total hazard reduction burning effort recorded in NSW, despite managing around 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 is both a fire authority and a public authority and is responsible for managing fire on all lands under its control. NPWS is responsible for taking ‘practicable steps to prevent the occurrence of bushfires on, and to minimise the danger of the spread of bushfires on or from’, those parks and reserves. As a recognised fire authority NPWS also stands ready to assist other fire authorities in the containment of wildfires across the State.
In accordance with the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, NPWS is responsible for protecting and conserving natural and cultural values within national parks and reserves.