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Bushfire Preparedness and Risk Reduction in Hobart Pilot Study 2019 Final Report

posted on 2023-05-25, 19:32 authored by Chloe LucasChloe Lucas, Grant WilliamsonGrant Williamson, David BowmanDavid Bowman

This document reports on the findings of a 2019 pilot survey into Hobart residents’ bushfire preparedness, and their preferences for vegetation management. The study was carried out in partnership with Hobart City Council, and focussed on two high risk communities within the Hobart LGA: Fern Tree/Cascade, and Bicentennial Park.

We found that residents living close to bushland deeply valued the benefits of living close to nature, but were overall strongly in favour of fire hazard reduction activities carried out by Council. 74% of people living in Fern Tree/Cascade are worried about the risk of bushfire where they live, as are 61% of Bicentennial Park residents. Participants’ level of concern about bushfire risk was positively correlated with an objective measure of risk mapped using the methodology and heuristics used by the Hobart City Council in planning fuel break construction.

Of the different types of fire hazard management, participants reported that grassy green firebreaks were the most aesthetically pleasing, but cleared understorey in wet forest was perceived to be most effective and approved of in the vicinity of their homes.

There is room for improvement in residents’ level of preparedness for bushfire. Almost one quarter of respondents had not discussed what they would do in a bushfire situation with family or friends, and only 18% had a written bushfire plan. Over one quarter of participants planned to stay and defend under certain fire conditions, and 5% in all fire conditions. 8% planned to stay unless a bushfire directly threatened their home, at which time they would leave. Worryingly, this last group also had the lowest level of preparedness of all respondents.

Participants expressed a strong desire for more information, education and partnership with council on bushfire preparedness. These residents are highly engaged on the issue of bushfire and are looking for leadership from Council. They would like a greater level of community involvement in bushfire management, and help in developing community capacity to prepare for the risk of bushfire. There is an opportunity for active engagement with the community on these issues as part of a scaled-up research project based on findings from this pilot, conducted in partnership between the Hobart City Council and University of Tasmania Fire Centre.





School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences

Place of publication

Hobart, Tasmania

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Climate change adaptation measures (excl. ecosystem); Social impacts of climate change and variability

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