Commonly used but the most destructive natural element on the face of the universe is fire, it’s as much a section of the natural environment of every nation as rain, wind and sun. In its natural form, it has not only assisted in shaping the environment but it has also been a driving power in the evolution of native flora and fauna (Williams 2001). This has led to several adaptations like emergent of a number of species after fire, particularly the dominant eucalypts. Fires assist in creating and amending the mosaic of biological and landscape patterns within their scope of influence and may raise the vulnerability of some regions to erosion. The intricacy of fires and the way they may alter the native ecosystems ought not to be underestimated, for their effects may still be detected twenty to thirty years later after the fire episode. More is yet to be learnt and understood about the long term demerits of repeated or single occurrence of fire on the natural ecosystem.
In spite of the intimate relationship between the biota of Australia and the fire regimes, fire is conceivably one of the least comprehended of the natural elements. The majorities’ perception is that, fire is an element of destruction. News from all over and the images on air of ranging bush fire from one region to the other have a tendency to reinforce this kind of perception, specifically within the ever increasing rural and urban societies. Such form of coverage displays fire as an individual event, whereas it’s the case of the ecosystems and their distinctiveness, in conjunction with the record of the fire and their properties that verify the effect of fire (Williams 2001).
Fire has been rated among the top destructing elements which, if not well controlled can not only be a threat in rural and urban areas, but it can also present a severe case in the affected regions. This paper therefore tends to attempt the management of risk of fire in rural Victoria.
Humans and fire
The practical application of fire by every human being has made an ineffaceable impact on several species including the humans. For the past years home-grown people have made use of fire for a several of reasons which comprise of cooking, communicating, marking ceremonies, warmth and many others. Considering different regions, the landscape burning was extensively made use of by the indigenous people and their demerit on the environment is well thought-out as one of the major complicated and controversial issues in the Australian ecology (Williams 2001). The local people’s wisdom of landscape and use across the northern Australia exhibits the lessons that can be learnt from the traditional burning. It also puts an emphasis on the dissimilar fire regimes that can take place on varying land tenures, making the explanation of fire patterns across the nations even more multifaceted. In clement nations, the ecological and functionality has been interrupted by broad-scale clearing and other major alterations, and traditional local land management has long been reinstated by management for every distinct purposes (Williams 2001). However, a variety of other modern techniques can be applied in other nations to gain more knowledge and understanding of historic fire regimes and their merits/ demerits on the biota. These may comprise of dendrochronology, palaeoecology and an understanding of different strategies.
In Victoria, every farmer is always alert to the bush fire risk and always incorporates fire protection in their business plans. This is as a result of the Victoria region being one of the world’s most bush fire prone regions. There seem to be an occurrence of grass fire and bush fire in Victoria due to the nature of the vegetation and climate. There is always loss of property and life in every episode of fire, with cases rising up to eleven thousand on rural properties engaged in agriculture production in Victoria, this took place between the years 1997 to 2005. In actual facts, the causes of the fire could probably be prevented or managed and the death rates would not have occurred.
Due to the wide spread of fire, destruction, loss of property and lives, the Victorian government introduced a legislation calling for forest plantation organizations to form fire brigades when their own plantation assets reached a critical dimension. The firm based fire brigades are often operated by the plantation organizations but are submitted to the operational control of the Country Fire Authority (Peter 2000). This country fire authority is accountable for fire protection and suppression within the rural Victoria for land not within the metropolitan fire district and the fire protected area, which comprise of parks, reserves and forests often managed by the department of sustainability and environment. The country fire authority is a community based tragedy service provider that operates within the provincial, town and rural regions of Victoria. In order to accomplish its statutory tasks/accountabilities, country fire authority offers a variety of services to help the community in the management of risks emerging from fire and other urgent tragedies. These entails: policy for the repression and prevention of fires within rural Victoria, community development curriculum to improve the capability of the community for self defense, educating the community on the matters of fires and emergencies, incident repression to deal with fire and emergencies immediately they occur and finally preparedness and prevention activities (Peter 2000).
In addressing its agreement the country fire authority has implemented a risk management strategy, whereby it identifies or discloses risks of uncontrolled fire by examining their probability and consequence and thereafter develops treatment to manage, prevent, minimize or share the risks with some other stakeholders (Peter 2000). The country fire authority has accountability under other Acts and secondary control mechanisms like the planning schemes. Being a legislative body it lines up it usual activities with the policies disseminated by the state government like the policy of environmental sustainability. Country fire authority has come up with an environmental policy and it’s purposed to deliver its services in a secure, well-organized and successful manner while shielding the environment however possible for present and future generations (Wade 1997). This policy, nevertheless, recognizes the significance of protecting the biodiversity as a chief step towards attaining sustainable and fruitful landscapes.
The significance of biodiversity and community security is over and over again held in conflict. Particularly, disagreements emerge when dealing with clearing for fire prevention and repression, not forgetting the maintenance of biodiversity. A merit solution would appreciate dissimilar values and offer mechanisms that are adequately supple to accommodate them (Peter 2000). As the country fire authority agreement deals with fire safety, it recognizes and acknowledges that, it is unsophisticated to affirm that safety is overriding and ought to take primacy over all other values. Much is well known about the behavior of human beings and wildfires. The city legend that wildfires are challenges for rural people was abolished last summer when wildfires occurred in the urban areas of Canberra. The theatrical nature of the incidence placed the vital of wildfires into the urban realization as never before (Wade 1997). The country fire authority persuades the property owners to be prepared incase of a wildfire event. Every individual can attain major diminution to the risk through: suitable behavior before and during the tragedy, good management of the vegetation in the surrounding area of their dwellings and finally the site and design of the new houses, and stipulation of right to use and water supply. Thus fuel lessening is a chief risk reduction treatment, others entail ignition deterrence, making use of land planning and building regulations, and asset and individual deterrence enhanced through the community development programs (Peter 2000).
A major barrier to balancing biodiversity and community security goals is the lack of perceptive of the different roles of fire in biodiversity management. Fire is an essential sector of the Australian environment and has functioned over geological period to influence the purpose, composition, sustainability and structure of the ecosystems. The Australian vegetation and the wildlife it holds up have developed in reaction to fire and are widely dependent upon fire. While at the same time as majority of people regard fire as a noteworthy menace to biodiversity in Victoria, the country fire authority hold up the view that burning under proper regimes can help out biodiversity. Whether planned or wildfire it contributes to a collage of vegetation ages and resultant composition (Wade 1997). Idyllically each vegetation kind ought to have a diversity of ages since the last fire. This creates the vegetation and the habit it offers more supple to main disturbances like huge fires or pest epidemic.
The country fire authority comprehends that, the environment protection and biodiversity conservation Act, unlike other environmental bodies like the Victoria’s Environmental Protection Act; it does not offer any exception for inescapable penalty of emergency management. The environment protection and biodiversity conservation Act calls for prior Commonwealth approval of actions which might damage matters of the environment implication, entailing the World heritage areas and other areas of susceptible or migratory species. The Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 put a demand on public authorities like the country fire authority to have consideration to flora and fauna protection and management standards (Peter 2000).
Safeguarding of the environment during wildfire repression demands a suitable trained workforce with timely admission to information on the site and management requirements of issues likely to be affected by regulatory strategies. In every emergency condition, where appropriate action is vital, it may always not be possible to safeguard both the environmental assets and life or material goods. Stipulation of environmental proficiency is also anticipated to be hard as minor incidents. The country fire authority believes that, consideration ought to be given to comprising of plain exemptions in the environmental protection and biodiversity conservation Act for realistic actions required to carry out emergency reaction to wildfire (Wade 1997).
The act of fire prevention may be carried out by the country fire authority at the appeal of or with the authority of the owner, inhabitant or responsible authority of the site at hand. It has dedicated considerable resources to promote knowledge and management of the environmental matters. They also hold up further resourcing of environmental bodies to help the land owners and managers like the municipal councils in discovering ways of safeguarding issues of environmental significance. The high-quality resources required may be over the contact of several individuals and companies. Country fire authority put into consideration that the vendor or manager of the site at hand should be required to take accountability for making sure the environmental matters are addressed. It also perceives that, it is unsuitable to pass on land and resource management accountability to other service providers like the fire services engaging in a fire prevention tasks for the land possessor or manager.
Government intervention and legislative management
The local government within the rural Victoria is accountable under the country fire authority Act to prepare the Municipal Fire Prevention Plan. These plans are required to discover the measures to tackle risk from fire and they offer the outline for implementing tasks including lacerating and approved burning throughout each municipality. Each municipal fire prevention plans must put into consideration environmental matters in formulating the risk treatments. Municipal fire prevention plan plays a vital strategic role in the management of vegetation on rural sites and offers a chance for attaining multiple goals. It should be submitted to in the framework and native vegetation plans and roadside management plans, primed pursuant to state necessities (Wade 1997). Municipal fire prevention plans ought to be involved early in the arrangement phases of better revegetation projects.
From the ancient days, much of the legislation pertaining to fire management in Victoria has been revolving around fire prevention and repression, intended at lessening of loss to life and assets (Williams 2001). Legislators act in response to deaths in bushfires by trying to enforce control on fire. In a number of cases, the legislation narrows the assortment of suitable or practicable fire regimes, and in other cases outlaws’ regimes that are essential for the preservation of some biota. The statutory establishes the Bushfire Management Committee as a way of amalgamating fire management across the landscapes that comprise of various managers with changeable objectives. The plan also functions under the National Park and Wildlife Act which describes the tasks of nature reserves and demands that fire management is not in conflict with the previous plan of management espoused for the reserve.
Risk assessment and approaches
A highly increasing significant matter is the applicability of risk management approaches to biodiversity. This approach is based on personal interpretation of the probability and penalty of hazards and is becoming the custom for the improvement of risk management scheme in business and institutional risk management in Australia (Williams, 2001). Preservation biology boarded on a diverse path for risk assessment two decades before the Australian principles were established. From its most basic commencement, risk assessment for biodiversity has naturally been well-versed by model-based or at most rule-based risk analysis. These kinds of methods have progressed to extend into a redoubtable variety of analytic and decision support apparatus. These risk assessment apparatus are valuable generally because they lay down the decision-making procedure in a formal outline in which the costs and profit of management substitute can be explored and be modernized, they are somewhat transparent and liberated of semantic uncertainty, and they offer some assurance of inner stability. These benefits are not easy, if not impracticable, to accomplish in a personal risk assessment outline (Williams 2001).
Peter, E., 2000. Risk Management in the Fire Service, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia
Submission To the native vegetation inquiry productivity commission retrieved on 24 November 2010, available at;
Williams, J., 2001. Biodiversity Theme Report. CSIRO publishers. Australia
Wade, E., 1997. Wildfire Risk. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, Sudbury.
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