Preparing for Fire Season

Preparing for fires is essential when living in our fire-prone landscape. Having a plan is the primary step to ensuring the survivability of your property and the welfare of you and your family, including pets and livestock. 

Your property

It is too late to prepare your property when a serious fire is threatening.

Fuel loads (flammable material) influence bushfire intensity. If the intensity of the fire is low, then there are more options available to firefighters to suppress the fire.

In order for fire appliances (such as fire trucks) to access your property safely, firebreaks are required to be no less than three metres wide and have no less than four and a half metres vertical clearance. Fire appliances must be able to fit through gates on your property.

The average fire appliance is nine metres long.

Asset Protection Zone (APZ)

Having an APZ gives your property a greater chance of surviving a bushfire. An APZ is the area within 20 metres, measured from any external wall, of any habitable building. The zone is within the boundaries of the lot on which the habitable building is situated.

What is required within an asset protection zone?

  • Tree crowns must be a minimum of 10 metres apart and not overhang a dwelling.
  • Shrubs and trees should not have dead material within the plant.
  • Low trees should be pruned to two metres.
  • Fuel loads should be reduced and maintained to a height of less than five centimetres or less than two tonnes per hectare.
  • No tall shrubs or trees are to be located within two metres of a building, including windows.
  • Fences and sheds must be constructed using non-combustible materials such as Colorbond iron, brick, limestone.
  • Sheds or other outbuildings should not contain flammable materials.
  • Tall shrubs should not be planted in clumps within three metres of a habitable building.
  • Lawns must be kept short and green where possible.

Where an APZ is required as part of an approved Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment, it must be maintained in accordance with the BAL report. A BAL report is required as part of all new planning and/or building licence approvals for habitable buildings constructed in bushfire-prone areas.

Planning approval is not required when implementing an APZ.

Alternatives to burning

There are a range of alternatives to burning waste, which will not harm the environment or cause health problems for you or your neighbours.

  • Grass can be slashed, grazed or reduced with herbicide to decrease fuel loads. This may be practical in areas difficult to access or if erosion is a concern.
  • Green waste and garden refuse can be disposed of via the two annual Green Waste Verge Collections or at the Corio Road and Dwellingup Waste Transfer Stations. This is free for residential properties receiving a weekly waste service
  • Arrange an onsite mulcher for mulching for large quantities of green waste (branches and tree trunks)
  • Turn grass clippings, leaves and twigs as mulch or compost

Note: Mulch piles should be no larger than five cubic metres to reduce the risk of spontaneous combustion and piles should have a three-metre firebreak surrounding them.

Firebreaks and compliance

A Guide to Constructing and Maintaining Firebreaks

Bushfire Compliance Notice 2023/24

Firebreak contractors 

Fire Response Vehicle Identifier  

A Vehicle Identifier Sticker (VIS) System is in place in Murray to ensure the safe and effective recognition, organisation and coordination of farmer response and private contractor firefighting resources.

The stickers are only available for vehicles and machines that can assist with firefighting operations and will be issued to local personnel by Shire staff. 

View the DFES guidelines for operating private equipment at fires here.

Note: VIS do not incorporate forestry industries as they have established processes and procedures in place for the use of their private resources, including equipment standards.

Apply now

Burning Times

Restricted burning time

  • 1 October - 30 November (inclusive)
  •  4 May - 15 May (inclusive)

Unseasonal weather conditions may vary these dates. A permit is needed to burn during these times.

Burning is prohibited on days where the Fire Danger Rating is High or above or if a Total Fire Ban (TFB), Harvest Vehicle Movement Ban (HVMB) is declared.

Prior to any burning, you should advise your Permit Issuing Officer and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services' Communication Centre.

Outdoor cooking during restricted burning times

  • Gas and electric barbeques are allowed.
  • Solid fuel barbecues, spit roasts, webers, pizza ovens and other cooking fires are prohibited when the Fire Danger Rating is high or above, or a TFB has been declared. They are allowed at all other times, if constructed in a way which prevents the escape of sparks or burning material and is within a three-metre fuel-free zone.

Burning of garden refuse or rubbish during restricted burning times

This includes incinerators and on the ground.

  • Burning is prohibited on land less than 4,000sqm and if the Fire Danger Rating is High or above, or a TFB has been declared.
  • Permitted at all other times on land 4,000sqm or more.
  • One small heap (up to one cubic metre) may be burnt on the ground, without a Permit to Burn, between 6pm and 11pm. The fire must be completely extinguished before midnight on the same day, a five-metre firebreak cleared and at least one able-bodied person remains in attendance.

Materials that cannot be burnt

Our Health Local Law prohibits the burning of the following materials:

  • Plastic
  • Rubber
  • Food scraps
  • Green garden material.

Prohibited burning time

  • 10 November - 3 May (inclusive)

Unseasonal weather conditions may vary these dates.

During the Prohibited Burning Time, setting fire to bush is prohibited at all times.

Outdoor cooking during prohibited burning times

  • Gas and electric barbeques are allowed.
  • Solid fuel barbecues, spit roasts, webers, pizza ovens and other cooking fires are prohibited.

Burning of garden refuse or rubbish during prohibited burning times

This includes incinerators and on the ground and is prohibited.

Fire prevention work

Installed on or before 30 November.

Maintained up to and including 15 May.

Preparing for fires is essential to living in our fire-prone landscape. It is imperative that you prepare your property thoroughly, well before the fire season.

Permit to burn

During Restricted Burning Times, a permit to burn is required. 

Check your zone on the map below and contact the relevant Fire Control Officer or locality Permit Issuing Officer.

No fires are to be lit when the Fire Danger Rating is high or above or if a Total Fire Ban, Harvest Ban or Vehicle Movement Ban is declared.

  • No permits will be issued during prohibited burning times.
  • No permits will be issued for properties less than 4,000sqm.
  • Permit holders are required to adhere to all conditions on the permit.
  • Special conditions may apply.

Before and during burning

  • Weather conditions: Always check with the Bureau of Meteorology for haze alerts and weather conditions in your area.
  • Tell your neighbours: Give sufficient notice to allow others to be prepared, especially if they need to relocate anyone with respiratory issues.
  • Condition of refuse: Only burn dry, dead material to minimise the amount of smoke produced.
  • Control the load: Do not burn more than you can manage – start with a smaller fire and gradually add more material.

Burning on Shire land

Approval is required to burn on Shire land. 

Complete the form and send through to for approval.