The Gardens sites are both situated adjacent to extensive areas of bushland, on the north-eastern slope of Black Mountain and in Jervis Bay National Park, and are vulnerable to the incursion of bushfires, especially during summer. Fire prevention and control in the bushland surrounding the Gardens is the responsibility of the Australian Capital Territory Parks and Conservation Service and the Rural Fire Service (previously the Bush Fire Council) in Canberra and the Jervis Bay National Park at Jervis Bay. The Gardens works cooperatively with these agencies in developing fire prevention and control plans.

In order to protect the collections from bushfire the Gardens in Canberra has developed an integrated fire protection and control strategy involving several elements: maintenance on site of a Rural Fire Service light unit with a team of trained staff; hazard reduction programs (that is, removal of available `fuel' from strategic areas such as boundary fence lines); the installation of a high-pressure, high-volume boundary sprinkler system and standpipes, fire hydrants and hoses throughout the site; and regular fire and evacuation drills.

At Jervis Bay, as in Canberra, the main concern has been the exclusion of fire from the Gardens. It is now apparent, however, that the composition of the natural heath has changed as a result of this practice. Some prescribed burning has been done and has been successful. Gardens staff train and act in liaison with both the National Park staff and the Navy.

Management prescriptions


The objectives are to protect the collections, buildings and infrastructure from bushfire, to ensure the safety of staff and the public while in the Gardens and, at Jervis Bay, to maintain mixed-age communities of heath vegetation through the use of prescribed burning.


At Jervis Bay fire management and protection plans will be integrated with those of the surrounding National Park and will involve the programmed use of fire to maintain the community structure of the heathland vegetation and its floristics. This will include burning of areas in specified order to facilitate the interpretation of fire ecology in heaths.

In Canberra liaison with the Rural Fire Service, the managers of the Black Mountain Nature Reserve and CSIRO will continue to ensure compatibility of policies and procedures. Fire prevention equipment and systems will be maintained and upgraded as necessary and regular hazard reduction programs will be undertaken. The members of staff operating the Rural Fire Service light unit will be trained in fire behaviour and suppression, and regular fire and evacuation drills will continue to be held.