Bush fire risk in Castlereagh

This is your opportunity to provide feedback on how the risk of bush fire is managed across our area.

Fire agencies, land managers and other stakeholders have been working to identify ways of reducing the impact of fires on our area – protecting lives, homes, businesses, agriculture, the environment and other assets that are important to Castlereagh.

The local Bush Fire Management Committee (BFMC) has developed a draft Bush Fire Risk Management Plan, which identifies the risks and the plans to protect them.

The draft plan identifies the risk to communities and the assets we all value. Using feedback from fire agencies, land managers and other stakeholders, the plan identifies ways of reducing the impact of fires across our area.

Your input is important – and by planning together, we will help shape the Bush Fire Risk Management Plan for our area for the next five years.

Note: This plan takes a new approach to bush fire risk management. At the time, the ‘Have Your Say’ stage was not available. However, the BFMC wishes to acknowledge the significant contribution of a range of stakeholders including volunteer RFS members into the development of the draft plan.

How the Castlereagh Bush Fire Risk Management Committee has assessed the risk

Fire is a part of living in Castlereagh. It has been a part of this landscape for millions of years.

As our population and region changes, the risk of fires impacting on our community has changed.

To understand the bush fire risk in Castlereagh, and help inform the best ways of managing and reducing the risk, we’ve looked at what’s important to local communities – including where people live, as well as environmental, economic and cultural assets.

We look at the assets across the landscape, and using computer modelling, we have tested scenarios for possible fire conditions to understand the impact on the community.

 
Residential: The residential risk map shows the modelled risk to homes and properties from bush fires. Each coloured square on the map represents the risk to a home or a group of homes. The map displays the comparative risk across the local Bush Fire Management Committee area. If your home is in the lowest risk category it can still be damaged in a bush fire, it is just less likely to be damaged compared to other areas.
Economic: The economic risk map shows the modelled risk to economic assets from bush fires. The risk is calculated based on the economic loss of the modelled damage assessment and how long it is expected that the asset will return to the pre-fire condition. These are important considerations because if they are destroyed during a fire, they can have long lasting impacts on employment and population in the area.
Environmental: This map shows the environmental assets that have been modelled as being at highest risk from bush fire in the area. This includes areas at risk because they contain threatened species vulnerable to fire, vegetation types sensitive to fire e.g. rainforests or land managed for conservation or environmental outcomes that does not include fire.
Predicted Aboriginal Cultural Assets: This map shows the predicted Aboriginal cultural assets that have been modelled as being at the highest risk from bush fire in the area.
Historic Heritage Sites: This map shows the modelled risk to historic heritage assets from bush fires. The risk is based on the significance of sites, the vulnerability of sites and the likelihood that sites will be exposed to a fire that will cause damage.
Fuel Management Register and Focus Areas: This map shows the Fuel Management Register – a list of hazard reduction activities identified as strategic treatments in the risk plan. The Fuel Management treatments include prescribed burns, BFMC managed Asset Protection Zones and the development or maintenance of Fire Breaks. This map also displays the areas identified by the Bush Fire Management Committee as Focus Areas.

Managing the risk in Castlereagh

We have considered the risk to people and assets across the area to determine the most appropriate and effective way of managing that risk.

Some areas of Castlereagh were impacted by the 2019/20 bush fire season, and these areas may have a reduced potential for fires spreading until vegetation fully recovers.

There are some measures which apply broadly – such as vegetation management, development controls, bush fire education, and fire suppression activities. These activities reduce the bush fire risk to assets and communities throughout the area.

Where an unacceptable risk exists for a particular area or assets, additional targeted treatment strategies are planned during the next five-year period. These treatment options include:

  • Fuel management – the reduction or modification of bush fire fuel with the intent of slowing the spread of bush fire and aiding firefighting operations. This may be identified as;
    • Asset protection zones – these are typically close to homes, and provide a separation from the bushland to reduce the impact of fires, and give firefighters a safe place to work if protecting homes in a fire;
    • Ignition management zones – areas in the landscape maintained at  a reduced fuel level to minimise the propagation of ignitions and limit the rapid escalation of fires;
    • Strategic fire advantage zones – these are areas across the broad landscape which, when treated, can help slow the spread of a fire across the landscape;
    • Land management zones – areas managed to maintain and enhance the natural and cultural values of the landscape and reduce the likelihood of bush fire spread through the use of mosaic fire regimes;
    • Transport corridor fire breaks – areas along roadsides and rail corridors in which bush fire fuel is reduced to lower ignition potential and to provide areas from which fire can be suppressed;
    • Other fire breaks – linear areas in which fuel is managed to provide areas from which a fire can be suppressed.
  • Ignition prevention – activities to prevent or reduce bush fire ignitions whether they be accidental or deliberate. This includes community preparedness programs, fuel management and specific actions in the Ignition Prevention Plan.
  • Community preparedness – activities such as working with residents to improve their level of planning and preparation for a fire, to increase the survivability of their home and families in the event of a fire.
  • Response – specific response requirements for a particular area or value in addition to standard procedures. This may include specific actions in the BFMC Plan of Operations or Fire Access and Fire Trail plan.
Read the draft plan in full
A detailed version of Castlereagh Draft Bush Fire Risk Management Plan is available to view.
The draft is also on public exhibition at local council offices and at:
Coonabarabran Fire Control Centre
111 Saleyards Road,
Coonabarabran NSW 2357
Gilgandra Fire Control Centre
Cnr Dennie and Warrie St,
Gilgandra NSW 2357
Have your say
You can provide feedback on the draft plan until 5pm on 1 July 2024. Feedback can be provided in multiple ways:
Provide feedback online via our simple form Give feedback
Email your feedback to RFS at Castlereagh.Zone@rfs.nsw.gov.au
Please include your name and contact details in the email.
Post written feedback to:
Coonabarabran Fire Control Centre
PO Box 5,
Coonabarabran NSW 2357
Please include your name and contact details in your written submission.
Castlereagh Bush Fire Management Committee

Castlereagh Bush Fire Management Committee is made up of a range of stakeholders from the area including emergency services, land management agencies, local government and local Aboriginal land services and local community groups. This ensures key community stakeholders have a say on bush fire management activities for the benefit of their communities.

Castlereagh Bush Fire Management Committee is made up representatives from the following agencies and organisations:

  • NSW Rural Fire Service
  • NSW Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure (Crown Lands)
  • Essential Energy
  • NSW Farmers' Association
  • Fire and Rescue NSW
  • Forestry Corporation of NSW
  • Warrumbungle Shire Council
  • Gilgandra Shire Council
  • Local Aboriginal Land Councils
  • Local Land Services
  • Nature Conservation Council of NSW
  • NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
  • NSW Police Force
  • Transport for NSW
  • Australian Rail Track Corporation
About Castlereagh

The Castlereagh Bush Fire Management Committee area spans 1,788,850 hectares (ha). The area covers the Local Government Areas (LGA) of Warrumbungle and Gilgandra Shire Councils and features National Parks comprising 154,330ha (8.62% of BFMC area) and State Forests comprising 56,859ha (3.17% of BFMC area).

The Castlereagh area has approximately 54% bushland and 44% grassland with the balance being the built environment or water bodies. A bush or grass fire can happen at any time of the year, but the risk is higher during the warmer months, when bush, grass or scrub is drier.

  • According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021 Census Community Profile there are 6,022 residential dwellings in the Castlereagh BFMC area with an approximate population of 11,537.
  • According to the ABS data on the counts of Australian businesses, there were 1,121 businesses in the Castlereagh BFMC area. The top three industries include Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing; Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services; and Construction. These account for 76.6% of businesses in the Castlereagh BFMC area.
  • The Forest Way Yarrie Lake (Duck Creek Pilliga Forest Fire) in 2023/24 burned a total area of 138,000 hectares within the Pilliga Forest (about 13,000 ha of that was within Castlereagh BFMC).
  • There are several valuable community assets across the area along with a number of culturally significant sites and environmentally important sites.
Plan and Prepare

Bush fire survival plan

Getting ready for a bush fire is easier than you think. Make a bush fire survival plan so you know what you will do if there’s a fire near you.

Prepare your home

A well-prepared home is more likely to survive a bush fire. Even if your plan is to leave early, the more you prepare your home, the more likely it will survive a bush fire or ember attack.

Prepare yourself and your family

Preparation isn’t just about cleaning up around the house and having a plan. It’s also about making sure you consider your physical, mental and emotional preparedness.