Preparing for Fire Season

Your Plan

Preparing for fires is essential to 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.

Public utilities such as telephone, power and water supplies are often damaged during major bushfires and may not be available to you when you need them.

How fireproof is your plan? Visit My Bushfire Plan to create one in under 15 minutes.

Your Property

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

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

Can we access your property?

In order for fire appliances 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:

average fire appliance

If you are well prepared, your property has a greater chance of surviving a bushfire. Having an Asset Protection Zone is one way to ensure this.

Asset Protection Zone

Asset Protection Zone (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
  • Low trees should be pruned to two metres
  • Fuel loads (flammable material) 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 (e.g. 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
  • Tree crowns should not overhang a dwelling and shrubs and trees should not have dead material within the plant
  • 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.

Shire of Murray planning approval is not required for the purpose of implementing an APZ.

Building in Bushfire Prone Areas

If your property is in a bushfire prone area and you are planning to build or undertake any building work, you are advised to comply with Australian Standard AS 3959 Building in Bushfire Prone Areas.

Find out if your property is located in a bushfire prone area by visiting:

Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage

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.

What can I do instead of burning?

  • Grass can be slashed, grazed or reduced with herbicide to decrease fuel loads - this may be a practical alternative particularly if erosion is a concern or in areas which are difficult to access
  • 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 - 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)
  • Use garden refuse (particularly grass clippings, leaves and twigs) as a mulch or compost in the garden

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.

For information regarding composting, please contact our Environmental Services team:

(08) 9531 7777