Know the bushfire’s behaviour, manage the bushfire, protect the house, protect the nation.

Victoria’s Bushfire History, 1802 to Present  

We publish this as an e-Book, freely available to the public. It is the most comprehensive account of our rich bushfire history yet published. We want it to be widely known, quoted, examined and its lessons well learnt.

On 7 Feb 2009, Red Eagle was fully involved in self-defence of a property attacked by the East Kilmore bushfire using a professional self-defence system. Alongside us were other self-defending neighbours. This e-Book shows how our pioneers did the same – fiercely defended their properties from the bushfire enemy.


But this collection of data and stories is just a good start. It is not a complete record because there are too many knowledge gaps. However, it does provide a useful framework to insert additions and amendments.  It is a work in progress. We therefore invite readers to send us private records, diary notes, newspaper reports, book references which we can add to the public record.

Our purpose is to present enough evidence to demonstrate the extent of bushfire losses and responses of residents, insurers and the government in each era, so that we can compare and learn – how they have things changed or not changed, have things improved or got worse?

  • Read how self-reliant our forebears were at protecting their houses and towns against bushfire attack for the first hundred years of white settlement.
  • Read how as late as the 1950’s and sixties, residents ran as teams toward the fire danger, practicing suppression skills the aborigines taught the pioneers 100 years earlier.
  • Read how today, people meekly submit to fire authority instructions, evacuate their houses and then see their houses destroyed, defended by nobody, and how fire authorities then praise their resilience.

We will continue to update it after each bushfire season until the government publishes comprehensive, accurate and accountable fire season data for the whole state (22M ha) like the old Forests Commission did for crown land (7M ha). We will present data to the public to show if things are improving or worsening. Why? What gets measured, gets improved.

Currently the government measures nothing of relevance about bushfire damage toll or about degree of protection of our towns and settlements, and public expenditure on bushfire costs is non transparent. The government fire agencies measure success by inputs like time to attend a call out and size of their aircraft fleet and budgets, not by outcomes like a falling damage toll or % of protected towns or falling bushfire budgets. If the fire agencies were in charge of the malaria problem, they would declare it a natural disaster, they would have a growing aircraft fleet to spray mosquito infestation areas upon report and people would be evacuated to safer areas, and every year would be the same

Readers will see that this EPIC is a history with attitude. Red Eagle wants it to be a catalyst for reform and to eradicate the bushfire menace in Victoria.

To help kick-off the policy reformation, Red Eagle has also published two companion Papers that analyse the historical data:

To help kick-off the policy reformation, Red Eagle has also published two companion Papers that analyse the historical data:

Indicators of historical weather severity 1850’s to Present

The first Paper ranks each fire season according to an objective measure of seasonal severity. When was our worst ever fire season severity? 1851? 1939? 2009? NO. It was 1897/98. Find out why. Has fire season severity got worse with climate change? NO. its range since the 1850’s is unchanged.

Influence of weather severity and mitigation strategies on the bushfire damage toll, 1855 to Present

The second Paper compares relative annual damage toll according to seasonal severity rank. This study shows clearly that the damage toll in each seasonal severity ranking has changed substantially, and the substantive cause is government policy. Has damage toll changed due to climate change? No – it gets better or worse due to government policy. Sadly, the study shows the last 20 years has reverted to the relative damage tolls of the pioneer days. We want an urgent review.

Red Eagle hopes that these documents will help reform Victorian government policy and march it towards eliminating the bushfire menace in Victoria. In the meantime, Red Eagle encourages and teaches people to self-defend their houses and towns and to be self-reliant like our pioneers were.

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