Preparing Your Property for Bush Fire Season
As a measure for preventing the outbreak of a bush fire, or for preventing the spread or extension of a bush fire which may occur, all owners and occupiers of land within the Shire’s district are required on or before 30 November each year, or within 14 days of becoming the owner or occupier of land if after that date, to clear firebreaks or to take measures in accordance with the Notice and maintain those firebreaks and measures in accordance with the Notice up to and including the 30th day of April in the following year.
The Shire of Murray Ranger Services can give advice on the requirements of the Notice. The Shire also has six volunteer Fire Control Officers who are available to give advice on further activities that can be performed to further mitigate and prepare your property from the impact of fire.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES, formerly FESA) also have extensive information available on preparation activities on their website available here.
Important message from Water Corporation in relation to bushfires:
Do you live in or near a bushfire prone area? Then now is the time to check that you are prepared in the event of a fire.
If you choose to stay and defend your home, you must have an independent water supply ready because scheme water may not be available due to infrastructure damage or power cuts.
For more information on how to prepare for a bushfire, visit dfes.wa.gov.au.
Residents who own land within the Shire of Murray are required to plough or clear firebreaks each year in accordance with the Bush Fires Act 1954. Owners and occupiers of land within the district are advised of firebreak requirements annually through the Shire of Murray Firebreak Notice. This Notice is distributed either with the rates notice, or separately. The Notice is also published in the Government Gazette and in Murray’s local newspapers. Once receiving the notice, land owners and occupiers are required to undertake activities within a specified time period to reduce the spread or impact of fire on private lands.
Property inspections are undertaken by the Shire of Murray’s Rangers Services every year between 1 December and 30 April the following year to ensure compliance. A minimum of $250 on the spot fine can be issued for non-compliant owners and occupiers.
For further information on the Notice, contact the Shire of Murray Ranger Services on (08) 9531 7777.
As the environment we live in is very bush fire prone, there is a need to restrict or prohibit the lighting of fires in the open air or restrict activities likely to cause a fire.
In the Shire, the restricted and prohibited burning times are as follows.
1 October to 30 November each year (inclusive) – Permits required.
1 April to 15 May each year (inclusive) – Permits required.
1 December to 31 March (inclusive) – No Fires.
The above dates are subject to variation and alterations will be published in a local newspaper circulating the district.
“Restricted burning time means the times of the year during which it is declared by the Authority under section 18 of the Bush Fires Act 1954 to be unlawful to set fire to the bush within a zone of the State except in accordance with a permit obtained under that section.”
During the restricted burning period, a person shall not set fire to the bush on land unless they have obtained a permit in writing from a Shire of Murray Fire Control Officer to burn bushland situated within the district.
Permit conditions must be adhered to, otherwise a Fire Control Officer may direct the person in attendance to extinguish the fire, and a on the spot penalty of $250 can be issued.
Permits can be obtained from the Shire’s volunteer Fire Control Officers. For contact information on your relevant Volunteer Fire Control officer, contact the Shire of Murray on (08) 9531 7777.
Where a person starts a fire on land, and that fire escapes from the land or if it is the opinion of a Fire Control Officer or an officer of a bush fire brigade that the fire is out of control, the person shall be liable to pay to the local government on the request of and for recoup to its bush fire brigade, any expenses up to a maximum amount of $10,000 incurred by it in preventing the extension of or extinguishing the fire, and such expenses may be recovered in any court of competent jurisdiction.
A person who commits a breach of the Prohibited Burning Times is guilty of an offence, and is liable for a first offence penalty of $3,000 or $10,000, 12 months’ imprisonment or both. There are also provisions for on the spot penalties of $250 for any contravention of the Prohibited Burning Period.
The prohibited burning time means the times of the year during which it is declared by the Minister under section 17 of the Bush Fires Act 1954 to be unlawful to set fire to the bush within a zone of the State.
If a local government considers that seasonal conditions so warrant the local government may, after consultation with an authorised Department of Parks and Wildlife Officer if forest land is situated in its district vary the restricted burning times in respect of that year in the district or a part of the district by:
- shortening, extending, suspending or reimposing a period of restricted burning times; or
- imposing a further period of restricted burning times; or
- vary the prescribed conditions by modifying or suspending all or any of those conditions.
- A variation shall not be made if that variation would have the effect of
- shortening the restricted burning times by; or
- suspending the restricted burning times, or any prescribed condition, for
- more than 14 successive days during a period that would, in the absence of the variation under this subsection, be part of the restricted burning times for that zone in that year.
The Shire will advertise any variations to the above periods within a local newspaper circulating within the district. However it is the responsibility of individuals to ensure they are up to date with local restrictions prior to undertaking any activities that are likely to cause a fire.