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Hazard reduction program

Managing fire-prone NSW national parks requires a multi-layered approach, including fire planning, community education, and fuel management. When it comes to reducing risks from fire-prone fuels, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) conducts planned hazard reduction activities like mowing and controlled burning to assist in the protection of life, property and the community.

Read more about Hazard reduction program

A hazard reduction burn is a fire ignited and controlled to burn a predetermined area under specific fuel and weather conditions to attain planned fuel management outcomes. Hazard reduction burning, sometimes called controlled burning or prescribed burning, is completed in strategic areas of a park. This reduces fire-prone fuel hazards which can moderate fire behaviour and aid fire suppression efforts in the right weather conditions. However, when fires weather is severe, extreme or catastrophic, areas treated by hazard reduction burns may have limited influence on fire behaviour driven largely by the weather.

Through the Enhanced Bushfire Management Program (EBMP), NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) plans to treat over 135,000 hectares per year in 800 or more hazard reduction activities. In the last 5 years, more than 1000 burns were carried out by NPWS, treating more than 635,000 hectares. Achieving this is highly dependent on suitable weather conditions, given the narrow window of opportunity that exists in NSW for burning safely and effectively.

In addition to prescribed burning, the NPWS hazard reduction program includes mechanical works, such as slashing and mowing. It’s important to remember planned hazard reduction isn’t the same as back-burning, which is a fire suppression tactic used during active bushfires.

While it’s vital that prescribed burning is done for the protection of the whole community, these burns can have temporary impact on visitors through smoke, road and park closures. We keep the community updated via our Alerts page, and offer several informational videos about the hazard reduction program, including videos on capability and training, and relationships with the community.

Parks related to this program