Residents in Bushland Suburbs
Our desire to live close to nature means that many homes are built in areas that are at risk of bush fire. There are several elements that increase the bush fire risk to our properties and families, and it pays to assess and attempt to mitigate these risks well in advance.
You are at more risk if you:
- Are close to bushland or areas with significant ground fuels (bush, scrub, grass etc)
- Live in a designated bushfire prone area according to your council's bushfire prone land map
- Live in a general area with a history of fire incidents
- Are on top of a slope, such as a ridge or hill. Fire runs quickly upslope
- Have continuous rows of vegetation on, or leading to your property
- Have combustible material near structures, such as bushes/shrubs growing next to homes, woodpiles, rubbish or leaves in gutters
- Live on a property with limited access, making it difficult for you and firefighters to get into and exit your property (e.g. one road in and out, or no access around your property)
- Have little access to water for firefighting
- Are distant from firefighting services
- Haven't prepared your family, house, property and firefighting equipment.
Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2006 is a Rural Fire Service publication outlining the bush fire protection measures to be included when planning or modifying a residential or special fire protection purpose building or development in a bush fire prone area.
Key features of the revised edition include the emphasis on a performance based approach to development through focusing on safer outcomes rather than simply meeting prescriptive requirements.
This approach to planning allows for considerable flexibility and innovation that links the bush fire hazard for a site with the implementation of appropriate bush fire protection measures. These bush fire protection measures must be addressed in any development applications submitted to Councils for proposed developments in bush fire prone areas.
The six Bush Fire Protection Measures (BPMs) include:
- Asset Protection Zones (fuel reduced areas)
- Access arrangements
- Building construction and design
- Water supply and utilities
- Emergency Management Arrangements
These six BPMs should be considered in combination to achieve an acceptable outcome in terms of bush fire protection. The acceptable solutions in Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2006 acknowledge that the BPMs work in combination to achieve good bush fire protection, while not needlessly reducing lot yields/site coverage or threatening environmental sustainability.
By incorporating bush fire protection measures into a development the 6 objectives of Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2006 are addressed:
- Afford occupants of any building adequate protection from exposure to a bush fire
- Provide for a defendable space to be located around buildings
- Provide appropriate separation between a hazard and buildings which, in combination with other measures, prevent direct flame contact and material ignition
- Ensure that safe operational access and egress for emergency service personnel and residents is available
- Provide for ongoing management and maintenance of bush fire protection measures, including fuel loads in the asset protection zone (APZ)
- Ensure that utility services are adequate to meet the needs of fire fighters (and others assisting in bush fire fighting