Enhanced Bushfire Management Program

The Enhanced Bushfire Management Program supports work to improve bushfire response, increase hazard reduction and develop research to reduce the risk of bushfire across New South Wales.

NPWS firefighter lighting bush for hazard reductionThe Enhanced Bushfire Management Program (EBMP) was established by the NSW Government in 2011 and has been extended until 2022. This statewide program is a key part of the government's approach to address predicted worsening fire weather conditions and climate change.

The program:

  • 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 National Parks and Wildlife Service, 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.

Funding

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 extended the EBMP to 2022, and committed a further $92 million over 5 years from July 2017.

In 2020, the NSW Government committed $29 million in funding for National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) as part of the response to the recommendations of the NSW Bushfire Inquiry. This is in addition to the $22.9 million funding for NPWS announced in June 2020, which enabled NPWS to increase its capacity for hazard reduction works and bushfire response in preparation for future fire seasons.

The funding has provided additional NPWS firefighters and supported NPWS in increasing hazard reduction activity in priority areas to reduce risk from future bushfires.

Achievements

  • The Enhanced Bushfire Management Program has dramatically increased the area treated for bushfire hazard reduction since its inception.
  • The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has carried out hazard reduction burns covering more than 1,060,000 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 112,423 hectares annually.
  • For the 2019–20 fire season, NPWS rapid aerial response teams responded to 100% of fires within 30 minutes of detection.
  • On average, NPWS undertakes around 79% of the total hazard reduction burning effort recorded in New South Wales, despite managing around 9% of the State.
  • NPWS has the largest professional bushfire fighting force in New South Wales.

Legislation

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 parks and reserves, and minimise the danger of these bushfires spreading. 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.