What is an Asset Protection Zone?
An Asset Protection Zone (APZ) is often referred to as a fire protection zone and aims to protect human life, property and highly valued assets and values. It is a buffer zone between a bush fire hazard and buildings, which is managed progressively to minimise fuel loads and reduce potential radiant heat levels, flame, ember and smoke attack on life and property.
The width of the APZ will vary with slope, vegetation and construction level. It consists of an area maintained to minimal fuel loads and, for subdivision, comprising a combination of perimeter road, fire trail, rear yard or a reserve, so that a fire path is not created between the hazard and the building.
An APZ consists of two areas:
- Inner Protection Area, closest to buildings, incorporating the defendable space and for managing heat intensities at the building surface
- Outer Protection Area, for reducing the potential length of flames by slowing the rate of spread, filtering embers and suppressing the crown fire
Creating an APZ for new development
An APZ should be located wholly within the subject site. Developments should not offset APZ to neighbouring land unless exceptional circumstances apply. You cannot clear vegetation on a neighbour's property or on lands administered/owned by National Parks, the Crown or under the management of your local council without written consent from the owner (an easement or plan of management).
If you are constructing an APZ for a new dwelling you will need to comply with the requirements in Planning for Bush fire Protection 2006.
Any approvals required will have to be obtained as part of the Development Application process. Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2006 outlines the distance requirements for APZ including the requirements for an Inner Protection Area and Outer Protection Area.
Creating an APZ for existing development
If you wish to create or maintain an APZ for an existing structure you may be required to obtain a Bush Fire Hazard Reduction Certificate or other environmental approval. The RFS offers a free environmental assessment and certificate issuing service for private property in bush fire prone areas. Contact your local RFS Fire Control Centre to determine if you can use this approval process.
If you intend to use fire to remove the bush fire hazard from your property you may also need to obtain a fire safety Permit through the RFS or NSW Fire Brigades. The RFS document Before You Light That Fire explains when a permit is required.
If you believe that the land adjacent to your property is a bush fire hazard and requires clearing to create an APZ, you can lodge a complaint with the RFS and action will be taken if required.