RURAL FIRE DIVISION

The Rural Fire Division is a Command of DFES focussed on tackling bushfire risk in WA. The Division is driving improvements to bushfire training, bushfire mitigation activities and land use planning across our State.

Our specialist teams

The Rural Fire Division consists of five specialist teams. Our teams work closely with local governments, state agencies, organisations, industry, volunteers and other key stakeholders to assist them in carrying out their roles in bushfire management. It’s these strong relationships which help us tackle bushfire risk more effectively in our State.

  • Office of Bushfire Risk Management Provides policy support and risk assurance to enhance bushfire management - particularly planned burning. Maintains the Map of Bush Fire Prone Areas.

  • Bushfire Technical Services Provides science-based advice, systems and activities in the fields of bushfire behaviour, impact, management and environmental protection.

  • Bushfire Risk Management Branch Supports the development and implementation of bushfire risk management plans and other bushfire mitigation programs.

  • Land Use Planning Provides advice to decision-makers on planning and development proposals in designated bushfire prone areas. Find more information here.

  • Bushfire Centre of Excellence Delivers training, information and resources to serve bushfire management stakeholders. Find more information here.

Why was the Rural Fire Division established?

The Rural Fire Division was established as a Command of DFES in 2018 in response to the Special Inquiry into the January 2016 Waroona Fire (Ferguson Report). This report recommended the WA State Government create a rural fire function to enhance the capability for rural fire management and bushfire risk management.

What are the benefits?

The Rural Fire Division is helping to transform the way we manage bushfire risk across WA by helping to build safer, more resilient communities. We work with the emergency management sector to make the most of the wealth of expertise that exists.

The division is also delivering real benefits for volunteers by enhancing bushfire training products and making training more accessible. We are drawing on local knowledge and working to leverage the experience of volunteers and traditional custodians more than ever before.

What are the priorities of the Rural Fire Division?
  1. Enable the State to better understand its bushfire risk and how bushfire risk is managed in WA.
  2. Partner with communities to better understand and manage bushfire risk.
Our role in bushfire risk management

One of the key aspects of bushfire risk management is the ability to carry out mitigation activities and support local governments in bushfire risk management planning. The Mitigation Activity Fund (MAF) Grants Program, in addition to increased mitigation funding from the State Government, facilitate these activities in WA.

Bushfire Risk Management Planning Program

The Bushfire Risk Management Program is a statewide program led by the Rural Fire Division to reduce bushfire risk in our communities. It supports local governments to identify at-risk assets and assign treatment options through the development of Bushfire Risk Management Plans (BRMPs).

Grants administered through this program also support local governments to employ Bushfire Risk Planning Coordinators to develop BRMPs and ensure effective treatment strategies are implemented. Local governments with endorsed plans are eligible for grants under the MAF to assist them with implementing mitigation activities identified in their plans.

For more information about preparing BRMP, see our resources below or email BRMP@dfes.wa.gov.au.

Mitigation Activity Fund Grants Program

The Western Australian government has established the Mitigation Activity Fund Grants Program (MAFGP) to reduce bushfire hazards that present a high risk to assets throughout the State. The program supports local governments with endorsed Bushfire Risk Management Plans to treat bushfire risk in their communities on State land that they manage. The MAFGP Guidelines for Applicants provides details on eligibility requirements, application and acquittal. For more information, please email MAFGP@dfes.wa.gov.au.

Image of a contractor doing a gentle burn in coastal heath fuel, Ocean Farms. Source: Shire of Gingin.

Image of a contractor doing a gentle burn in coastal heath fuel, Ocean Farms. Source: Shire of Gingin.

Image of a completed firebreak in Craigie. Source: City of Joondalup

Image of a completed firebreak in Craigie. Source: City of Joondalup

Drone image of completed mulching works in the Ledge Point townsite to protect critical infrastructure from the impact of bushfire. Source: Coastal Vegetation Management

Drone image of completed mulching works in the Ledge Point townsite to protect critical infrastructure from the impact of bushfire. Source: Coastal Vegetation Management

Image showing completed mechanical works in Dawesville Bypass. Source: City of Mandurah

Image showing completed mechanical works in Dawesville Bypass. Source: City of Mandurah

Bushfire Risk Assessment and Treatment Plans

The Rural Fire Division develops bushfire risk assessment and treatment plans for schools in high bushfire risk areas of WA. This ensures ongoing strategies are in place to reduce and manage bushfire risk to students and facilities.

To date we have completed plans for over 300 schools, which help to inform standalone bushfire plans developed by schools under the advice of the WA Department of Education.

Assurance Program

Managing the fuels that power bushfires is crucial to reducing our bushfire risk. However, fuel management must be undertaken carefully. The Assurance Program works with organisations that manage fuels to make sure associated risks are well-managed, and the best possible outcomes are achieved. You can find more information here.

Greater collaboration and support

State Bushfire Advisory Council (SBAC)

The SBAC meets quarterly and provides advice to the Minister for Emergency Services and the Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner on bushfire management in Western Australia. It was formally established in 2019 and brings together skills, knowledge and practical experience from across the bushfire management sector, including volunteers and community members, to support credible decision making to improve bushfire management outcomes.

Interagency Bushfire Operations Committee (IBOC)

The IBOC exists to promote a cohesive approach to bushfire management, response and recovery. The committee oversees and guides bushfire interagency collaboration and coordination efforts between local governments, the Department of Biodiversity, Conversation and Attractions and DFES.

The IBOC advices respective agency heads on interagency efficiency and effectiveness in all bushfire operations and mitigation activities within WA fire agencies. The IBOC also review current arrangements and practices and make recommendations for future improvements.

Download the resources

Bushfire behaviour and risk assessment tools

Aurora Fire Behaviour Calculator

Calculate the fire behaviour variable (e.g. the rate of fire spread or fire line intensity) by entering custom variables (e.g. vegetation types and forecast) for your location.

FireWatch Pro

FireWatch Pro uses satellite technology to provide everyone with the latest information. Click to view current fire hotspots and expected fire behaviours in your areas.

Rural Fire News

Rural Fire News is a quarterly newsletter issued by the Rural Fire Division sharing our key achievements, projects and initiatives. You can access all of our published editions below:

Want to receive the newsletter? Subscribe to our mailing list below.

Contact the Rural Fire Division

If you have a question about the Rural Fire Division send an email to ruralfire@dfes.wa.gov.au or submit an online enquiry form.