Total Fire Ban (TFB) and weather forecast district boundaries
Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why was the project to realign the TFB boundaries initiated?

On 4 December 2009, the Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA) signed an agreement with the Bureau of Meteorology (the Bureau) and the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) to formalise the provision of warnings to the community based on the National Bushfire Warning System. Within this agreement Clause 20 states "As part of the 2009/10 post season review alignment of the boundaries for both these purposes will be considered".

As a result, CFA, DSE and the Bureau have aligned fire weather districts, TFB boundaries and Local Government Area (LGA) boundaries to:

  • Clearly define the Local Government Areas (LGAs) that exist within each TFB district and remove any overlap of TFB boundaries across LGAs);
  • Improving weather advice and warnings issued for the community.

For details of which communities are affected by the district changes see the CFA website at: http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/restrictions/firedistricts.htm

2. What consultation was undertaken about the change?

Consultation occurred with the Bureau or Meteorology and DSE during February and March 2010.

Preliminary consultation was undertaken with Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV), General Managers and Operations Managers in March 2010.

Extensive internal and external stakeholder consultation was held throughout May and June 2010. A letter was sent to 226 key stakeholders on 4 May 2010 requesting feedback on the proposed changes. Feedback closed on 30 June 2010. One hundred and two (45%) responses were returned.

Regular updates are being provided by email to CFA HQ and Districts and on CFA Connect.

3. What is the final result?

Changes include:

  • Aligning all TFB and Bureau weather forecast districts with LGA boundaries (with the exception of Yarriambiack Shire which is divided along the east-west rabbit fence) to create nine TFB districts.
  • Dividing the existing North West TFB district forming two new districts in line with the Wimmera and Mallee weather forecast districts.
  • Forming two new districts in the north (North Central and Northern) in line with the North Central and Northern weather forecast districts. These districts take in part of the former North West and North East TFB districts and provide four TFB districts north of the Great Divide.
  • Dividing the Eastern TFB district forming two new districts (West and East Gippsland).
  • Aligning the associated weather forecast districts with the South West and Central TFB districts and LGAs.
Map outlining "old" and "new" Public Weather Districts boundaries

4. What are the impacts to CFA from realigning the TFB boundaries?

Changes to TFB boundaries do not require a change to regulation. If the TFB boundary realignment is approved, CFA will need to implement:

  • A community education program; and
  • Changes to signage (such as road signage) and publications (such as the TFB brochures and the CFA web site) across the State to identify the new boundaries.

Funding has been approved by the CFA Board to help implement these.

5. How will aligning the weather districts and TFB districts benefit the community?

Aligning the boundaries will:

  • Clearly articulate the LGAs that exist within each TFB district (removing overlap of TFB boundaries across LGAs);
  • Improve weather advice and warnings issued for the community.

6. What are the impacts to the Bureau weather forecast and warning services?

  • The Central district forecasts will now include Ballarat;
  • The East Gippsland district forecast will now include Bairnsdale and Omeo;
  • Many other towns near the previous boundaries are now located in adjacent districts; and
  • The Western District will be renamed the South West district; and
  • All weather warnings will be issued for the new districts.