Bushfires, landslides and geotechnical challenges in the Otway Ranges, Victoria

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Bushfires, landslides and geotechnical challenges in the Otway Ranges, Victoria

Abstract

The Otway Ranges in southwest Victoria rank among the most susceptible areas for landslides in
Australia. In December 2015, a bushfire led to significant loss of vegetation and property damage in
the townships of Wye River and Separation Creek which are located on the Great Ocean Road on
the coastal flank of the Otway Ranges. Heavy rain in the period following the bushfires led to
landslides that temporarily closed the Great Ocean Road and hampered the post-bushfire recovery
and rebuilding work in the townships.
This paper presents learnings relating to:
• the impact of bushfire on landslide susceptibility;
• the challenges associated with communicating landslide issues to a diverse audience including
the affected communities, emergency response organisations, government authorities and
construction contractors;
• the practical constraints on recovery and rebuilding operations in areas with a high susceptibility
to landslide; and
• the opportunities for increasing the resilience of the townships to cope with future natural
hazard events
based on observations made in the period prior to the December 2015 bushfire event, immediately
after the bushfire, during the approximately 1-year long recovery phase and in the subsequent
rebuilding of the townships

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