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Topics > Fire management

Fire science and planning

What is a fire regime?

Fire played an integral part in shaping the ecology of the Australian landscape for millions of years. The sequence of these fires is called a fire regime and they are defined by how they occur:

  • at a range of intervals
  • with different intensities
  • at various times of year
  • in different fuel types.

Australian plants and animals have evolved and adapted to survive particular fire regimes. While a fire can cause the death of individual plants and animals, fire regimes actively stimulate the regeneration and renewal of the ecosystem. However, if fire regimes occur outside of the sequence to which the plants and animals have adapted, extinction of species can occur.

Fire management for biodiversity minimises the risk of extinction from inappropriate fire regimes – where burning doesn’t match what a species needs.

Understanding the latest science in fire management is essential for effective biodiversity conservation because fire regimes interact with plant and animal survival techniques and play a significant and positive role in sustaining and promoting plant and animal diversity.

Prescribed burning and the environment

Although our knowledge may be incomplete, our decisions are supported by the best available science, data and knowledge as part of an adaptive management process. This information helps us produce fire management plans for public lands across the state.

DEW is a member of the Australian and New Zealand National Council for fire and emergency services (AFAC), which helps guide its fire management program in this state, ensuring it sits within national standards and best-practice guidelines.