As a result of the tragic 2009 fires in Victoria, the NSW Rural Fire Service has embarked on a program of developing Community Protection Plans for vulnerable towns and villages in NSW. Mt Wilson was chosen to be part of the trial as an example of a village located in a heavily forested area with only one access road. The plan was completed by NSW RFS staff with assistance from the Mt Wilson/Mt Irvine Rural Fire Brigade. Data for a plan for Mt Irvine is currently being collected with the hope that a draft will be available in 2014.
The overall aim of the Community Protection Plans is to 'improve community and fire fighter capacity to prepare, act and survive bushfires'. The Plan consists of three maps:
- Operational Brigade map (for Brigade only) – provides brigades and other fire fighting agencies with important operational data such as fire trails, water supplies, community assets, helipads, communication towers, neighbourhood safer places etc
- pdf Bush Fire Preparation map (5.22 MB) – provides information for land managers, fire agencies and the community on details of existing and proposed bush fire risk treatment works for the community. It shows past and planned hazard reduction works
- pdf Bush Fire Survival map (3.58 MB) – the most interesting map for residents as it provides vital information for preparing a Bushfire Survival Plan such as indicating the possible impact on your property of a fire as well as leave early options and neighbourhood safer places.
The Bush Fire Survival Map shows the effects of a fire (direct flame, radiation heat or ember attack) when the Fire Danger Rating is 'catastrophic' and fire is coming from all directions. This is an extreme case and one not yet experienced here (since white settlement). Nevertheless, bushfire conditions do not need to be 'catastrophic' for fires to destroy properties and lives. The Fire Danger Rating at the outset of the 2013 State Mine Fire was 'extreme' and that fire destroyed 2 properties and numerous sheds, fences and equipment and came close to burning all round Mt Wilson and Mt Irvine. The map is extremely useful for showing you the worst case scenario for your property as well as last resort options.