Why we need a plan

Bush Fire Risk Management Plans are an effective instrument for managing risk to human activity and valued community and environmental assets. They are a key component in a multifaceted bush fire management approach for NSW.

Developed using robust data and sophisticated technology and modelling, the plans determine risk factors and develop solutions that best mitigate them.

Feedback from the exhibition of a draft plan for Lower North Coast is currently being assessed. Public feedback will be taken into consideration as the plan is finalised by the Lower North Coast Bush Fire Management Committee before being sent to the Bush Fire Coordinating Committee for review.

Current Bush Fire Risk Management Plan for Lower North Coast

The Bush Fire Risk Management Plan for Lower North Coast was prepared under two previous Bush Fire Management Committee areas.

The Lower North Coast Bush Fire Risk Management Plan was published on 10 August 2018.

This plan identified the bush fire risk across the Lower North Coast BFMC Area and sets out the types of work scheduled to deal with the risk of bush fires.

Bush Fire Risk Management Plans are updated within every five-year period, however, the treatments and works set out in the plans are subject to change on a yearly basis due to fire activity, weather and new risk factors. This plan may not have been updated with the latest information.

Lower North Coast 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.

Lower Hunter Bush Fire Management Committee is made up of the following representatives:

  • NSW Rural Fire Service
  • NSW Department of Industry (Crown Lands)
  • Essential Energy
  • NSW Farmers' Association
  • Fire and Rescue NSW
  • Forestry Corporation of NSW
  • Kempsey Shire Council
  • Nambucca Shire Council
  • Local Aboriginal Land Councils
  • Nature Conservation Council of NSW
  • NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
  • NSW Police Force
  • Transport for NSW
  • Australian Rail Track Corporation
  • Local Land Services

The Lower North Coast BFMC area spans 486,848 hectares (ha). The area covers the Local Government Areas of Kempsey and Nambucca and features National Parks covering an area of 129,998ha (26.7% of BFMC area) and State Forests covering an area of 53,933ha (11.07% of BFMC area).

The Lower North Coast BFMC area has approximately 76.7% bushland and 21.06% 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.

The majority of the wild fires in the area (19%) have resulted from escaped hazard reductions or agricultural burning carried out on private property. On average, 60% of bushland grass fires occur outside of the Bush Fire Danger Period.

  • According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021 Census Community Profile there are 24,256 residential dwellings in Lower North Coast BFMC area with an approximate population of 51,095.
  • According to the ABS data on the counts of Australian businesses, there were 2,339 businesses in the Lower North Coast BFMC area. The top three industries in the BFMC are Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, Construction and Rental, hiring and real estate services, which make up approximately 63.44% of businesses in the Lower North Coast BFMC.
  • The Lower North Coast BFMC area has on average 304 bush fires per year, of which one percent on average can be classified as significant fires. The last major bush fire happened in the 2019/20 bush fire season – with 186,849ha hectares burned. Prior to that the period from 2011/12 - 2015/16 recorded three emergency declarations, all within the Kempsey LGA.
  • There are several valuable community assets across the area along with a number of culturally significant sites and environmentally important sites.

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.