The Office of Bushfire Risk Management (OBRM) was established in May 2012 as part of the State Government’s response to the findings of the Keelty Report ‘Appreciating the Risk - Margaret River Bushfire Special Inquiry January 2012’.
OBRM is an independent office within the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES), reporting directly to the Fire and Emergency Services (FES) Commissioner. OBRM’s role is to oversee prescribed burning and bushfire related risk management in Western Australia.
OBRM’s Mission Statement
“To enhance the efficient and effective management of bushfire related risk in Western Australia in order to protect people, assets and other things valuable to communities.”
OBRM’s main functions are set out in its Charter (PDF - 172 KB), and aim to ensure that organisations responsible for reducing bushfire related risk in Western Australia align their practices and procedures to the Australian Standard ISO 31000:2009 Risk management – Principles and guidelines.
Through the development of a range of standards and the promotion of best practice, OBRM is able to provide advice and guidance to a number of key stakeholders. OBRM aims to encourage harmonious working relationships across agencies, communities and volunteer groups.
OBRM is responsible for reviewing prescribed burns when the outcome differs from what was outlined in the burn prescription. This will aid OBRM in identifying lessons learned to assist continuous improvement.
Accomplishments to date
Since its development, OBRM has established itself as a leader in bushfire risk management in Western Australia and has made significant progress in a number of key projects.
In partnership with agencies such as Parks and Wildlife, DFES and Local Government, OBRM is working to ensure that bushfire related risk in Western Australia is managed in accordance with Australian Standard ISO 31000:2009 Risk management – Principles and guidelines.
An independent audit process is in place to ensure stakeholders are complying with OBRM Standards. Agreed Audit Protocols (PDF) have been established and any findings are discussed with the relevant stakeholder and actioned as necessary.
A key achievement for OBRM has been the release of the Map of Bush Fire Prone Areas, an online map identifying land within, or partially within, the bush fire prone areas of Western Australia designated by the FES Commissioner. OBRM has also developed the Mapping Standard for Bush Fire Prone Areas, which defines the process for the creation of the Map and its identification of bush fire prone areas in Western Australia. The Map and Mapping Standard are important components of State Government reforms to reduce the risk of bush fire to life, property and infrastructure in response to the findings of the 2011 Keelty Report ‘A Shared Responsibility – the report of the Perth Hills Bushfire February 2011 Review’. Together they help ensure the accurate and consistent designation of bush fire prone areas in Western Australia.
OBRM is also working on reforming the Permit to Burn. The first phase of the trial was undertaken in late 2013-2014 in the Lower South West and South West of Western Australia. The second phase, in consultation with stakeholders, will seek to develop greater consistency in permit issuing practices across Western Australia.
In December 2015, OBRM published the Guidelines for Preparing a Bushfire Risk Management Plan as a standard to support a consistent approach to bushfire risk management planning across Western Australia. The establishment of this standard addresses a number of the recommendations made by the 2011 Keelty Report ‘A Shared Responsibility – the report of the Perth Hills Bushfire February 2011 Review’, and supports Local Government to fulfil their obligations under the State Emergency Management Plan for Fire (Westplan Fire).
OBRM continues to work with its partners and stakeholders to progressively reduce bushfire risk through consultation, its published standards, engagement strategies, and reporting the outcomes and the level of state-wide risk to the FES Commissioner.
For enquiries, please email the Office of Bushfire Risk Management at OBRM@dfes.wa.gov.au.