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Hotspots Project

Fire Management Training for Healthy Communities and Landscapes

For information on the Hotspots Program, delivery areas, fire management planning information and other resources please contact the Hotspots Program at the NSW RFS on (02) 8741 5555 or email hotspots@rfs.nsw.gov.au or visit the Hotspots website


What is Hotspots?

The Hotspots Fire Project is a hands-on training program which provides landholders and land managers with the skills and knowledge to actively participate in fire management for the protection of life and property while at the same time ensuring healthy productive landscapes in which biodiversity is protected and maintained.

The Hotspots Training Program is delivered by regional teams who engage with the community to specifically tailor the program to their needs. The program is then delivered over several training days where landholders actively participate in fire management planning and implementation. The training program includes;

Understanding Fire(fire ecology and risk management)

Landholders gain a better understanding of fire ecology and risk management through spending time in the field with ecologists, local fire authorities, land managers and NRM staff. Landholders are given the opportunity to build relationships and networks with their neighbours and agencies and to understand issues relating to risk planning, legislation, fire history, the protection of threatened species, vegetation types and animals and their response to fire and different fire regimes.


Developing a Fire Management Plan (a landholder plan)

Landholders develop their own fire management plans in cooperation with their neighbours (both public and private landholding) and begin to build a better understanding of the role of fire in their local area. The end result is a map-based 12 month fire management action plan.


The Demonstration Burn (participate in a planned burn)

Landholders participate in a field day focused on how to implement actions from their fire management plans. Aspects of planning and implementing a burn in a safe environment are covered. This day brings together all the knowledge and planning from earlier parts of the program. The field day provides a hands-on experience in preparing a burn site, estimating fuel loads, considering weather factors, reviewing fire behaviour and undertaking a risk assessment. Landholders then observe a demonstration burn conducted by the NSW Rural Fire Service and other agencies.


Check out our DVD about a Hotspots Program in the Northern Tablelands

Benefits to the NSW RFS

Our proven model of consultation, science and training has resulted in on-ground actions for community preparedness, improving hazard reduction and biodiversity.

The NSW RFS benefits greatly from facilitating the project, as it:

  • Improves community understanding and ownership of fire management, legislation and ecology through the provision of information and training on implementation of fire management strategies and actions for property protection, biodiversity conservation and the protection of other environmental and cultural values.
  • Increases number of hectares with working property fire management plans.
  • Increased community capacity to respond to and manage fire across the landscape.
  • Building capacity amongst regional agency staff to deliver information on fire management for biodiversity conservation that is relevant to local communities.
  • Gives landholders an improved understanding of their obligations under the Act as well as approval processes and permits
  • Provides information and connections to local brigades, thus increasing volunteer numbers
  • Compliments FireWise and other community engagement programs

Hotspots is linking with:

  • property planning across the landscape;
  • Community Protection Plans; and
  • Regional Bush Fire Risk Management Plans.


  • "Before Hotspots we were an isolated community, we felt we had to fight fire by ourselves, we were alone. But since the training, we feel part of a larger community now that we manage for fire as a community" Hotspots Participant
  • "Hotspots reminded me about the importance of fire as a biological tool as well as asset protection" Hotspots Participant
  • “Hotspots is a way of returning the community back to the land.” Indigenous Landholder, Hotspots participant
  • "Participation with the local community is the best part – it reinforces the purpose and the formula for what we are doing in Hotspots" Agency member


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