External and specialist advice

Country Fire Authority

The CFA conducted a detailed assessment to identify risk from the plantation and to recommend mitigation actions using the following approach and considerations.

  • A calculation based on the Bushfire Attack Assessment standard tool (also used for
  • assessing Neighbourhood Safer Places – Bushfire Places of Last Resort and Bushfire Attack Levels
  • for construction).
  • The vegetation is classified as “Forest” which equates to a fuel load of 35 tonnes per hectare. It is noted that the plantation is not forest, however a ‘Forest” classification was used and provided a worst-case scenario to conduct the assessment
  • Noting the Pyalong Primary School buildings are over 100 metres from the plantation, this means radiant heat exposure is reduced.
  • Modelling using two Fire Danger Index (FDI) scenarios; 100 FDI (Code Red) and 120 FDI
  • (Code Red).
  • A fuel load assessment for the reserve using a standard overall fuel hazard assessment.
  • A desktop fire behaviour modelling exercise.

Assessment outcomes

  • A fuel load hazard assessment rating of ‘Moderate’.
  • The fire behaviour assessment indicates a ‘low likelihood’ and ‘low consequence’ from ignition in the plantation area.
  • At a Fire Danger Index of 100 or more on a Code Red Day, the CFA assessment of the school site did not consider the buildings as high risk as they are well under the threshold of 10Kw/m2.

Based on the assessment, the CFA report recommends removal of ground fuels under the pines (i.e. windfall limbs and understorey plantings); and ‘uplifting’ via removal of pine tree branches up to two metres from ground level.


  • While the plantation vegetation is not without bushfire risk, the assessments show the likelihood of fire and the level of radiant heat impacting the school on a Code Red Day is low.
  • The recommended maximum radiant heat levels for sheltering in place within a building is 10 kW/m2 or less.
  • Noting, that the school would not be operational or occupied on a declared Code Red day, complete removal of the plantation is not required from a bushfire risk perspective.


PowerCor conducted an on-site inspection to check span compliance and to identify any hazardous trees. They concluded that there was no need for tree removal works from a power asset protection or hazard reduction perspective. PowerCor has a regular inspection program.

Department of Education and Training (DET)

Summary advice includes:

  • The Pyalong Primary School risk assessment conducted by DET determined the school would close on Code Red days.
  • Their bushfire risk assessment is based on a range of factors. The proximity of the pine plantation is not a key consideration.

Consultation has concluded

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