The Hotspots Fire Project & the Nature Conservation Council of NSW’s Bush Fire Management Program ran a ½ day workshop for the Baulkham Hills Bush Fire Management Committee (BFMC), in August 2009. Twenty-two participants from 9 agencies attended & took part in facilitated discussion, a field visit & a map based planning . The workshop introduced the Hotspots and Bush Fire Programs to the BFMC & facilitated discussion and knowledge sharing between the BFMC members on fire management in the area.
The group discussed the fire management issues for the Shire of Baulkham Hills & how these fit within the wider landscape. Each member of the BFMC was able to contribute varying management objectives & opinions on the complex issues of fire management & discuss the challenges of managing for multiple outcomes.
The site visit to Bidjigal Reserve & adjoining Council Reserve land in the North Rocks area provided opportunity to view & discuss key aspects of managing fire for both risk & biodiversity. During the site visits, Dave Peterson, a fire ecologist from EcoLogical Australia led discussions on a range of topics. These included; the importance of defining management objectives, vegetation & habitat differences with changing topography & the need to manage external pressures such as weeds when managing fire.
Map Based Session
Back in the RFS office, participants used interactive map-based fire planning to build on shared knowledge. The group identified different vegetation types & fire history on large A0 laminated maps of the Bidgigal Reserve. Each group then identified Land Management Units that might present a priority for future wmanagement. This collaborative planning process brought together different knowledge, experience & objectives.
Evaluation Form Comments. The main benefit to you from having attended this workshop was “Seeing the different players working together” “Advice from other land managers specific to Bidjigal Reserve” “Insight into planning process” & “Seeing how the Hotspots model can be applied at a Committee level”
People Profile: BFMC Executive Officer John Hojel
Superintendent John Hojel has been with the NSW Rural Fire Service for 35 years and has lived in the Baulkham Hills region since the 1960s. As Executive Officer of the Bush Fire Management Committee and with extensive local knowledge, John provided valuable input throughout the workshop.
"The Hotspots workshop provided a forum for members of the Bush Fire Management Committee to discuss the fire management issues in this area, the different agency priorities and objectives for the region and consider fire management from environmental and asset protection perspectives"
- John Hojel RFS Superintendent.