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Assessing the Vegetation & Fuel Loads

Bushfire Prone Area is land that could support a significant bushfire or be subject to significant bushfire attack, it includes potentially hazardous vegetation with a Medium, High or Very high Potential Bushfire Intensity. Bushfires in these areas have the potential for high to extreme levels of flame attack, radiant heat and ember attack as a result of high potential fuel loads, slope and severe fire weather. Land that could be subject to significant bushfire attack from embers, flames or radiant heat is included in a Potential Impact Buffer with a default width of 100m from all areas of Medium, High or Very high Potential Bushfire Intensity. Fire-line intensity is a standardised measure of the rate that an advancing fire would consume fuel energy per unit time per unit length of fire front introduced by Byram (1959). One of the main benefits of the fire-line intensity metric is that it can be used to estimate the potential flame length (e.g. Byram 1959; Alexander and Cruz 2012) and thus the radiant heat expected at various distances from potentially hazardous vegetation. 

Radiant heat measures can in turn be used to estimate required minimum distance from hazardous vegetation needed to afford safety levels to people and/or buildings. Fireline intensity can also be used to derive estimates of flame length, radiant heat and other fire metrics to provide approximate estimates of Bushfire Attack Level (AS3959), which can provide a connection between landscape scale bushfire consultant metrics and site level decisions for building design. The Potential Fuel Load, is a key driver of fire behaviour, fire-line intensity and bushfire hazard. Potential Fuel Loads represent the approximate mass (measured in tonnes/ha) of combustible fuel material that would typically accumulate if vegetation is not regularly burnt or subject to fuel reduction practices. Potential Fuel Loads are assigned to vegetation categories (Vegetation Hazard Classes) formed by amalgamating land use and vegetation types with a moderately consistent fuel load and structure.