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For new subdivisions and large scale special fire protection purpose developments, the design of public and property access roads should enable safe access, and defendable space for emergency services. Fire trails enable access for management of APZs. These principles also apply for other developments but greater emphasis on landscaping, construction and other bush fire protection measures may be necessary.

Specific design criteria must be applied in accordance with Planning for Bush fire Protection 2006 to the following types of road:

Public Roads

These include the perimeter road and the internal road system of any urban subdivision, as well as public roads in rural-residential subdivisions.

The public road system in a bush fire prone area should provide alternative access or egress for firefighters and residents during a bush fire emergency if part of the road system is cut by fire.

Property Access Roads

Property access is access from a public road system onto private land and access to a habitable building for fire fighters. A distinction is drawn between rural private access roads and those in urban areas.

Where property access is required across other land, the owner's consent to legally binding arrangements covering access and ongoing maintenance are required prior to lodging a development application.

Short property access roads are preferable to long ones for the safety of evacuating residents and emergency service personnel, and therefore it is preferable to site dwellings as close as possible to public through roads.

Fire Trails


Fire trails are used as access for firefighters, as fire control lines and for APZ maintenance.

In rural-residential subdivisions, they may surround isolated dwellings or groups of dwellings and can form part of the IPA around individual or groups of dwellings.

In suburban subdivisions they may function as a strategic control line around the hazard side of the IPA, if they are connected to the public road system at frequent intervals.



A fire trail is not a substitute for a perimeter road and any proposals will need to demonstrate clear benefits over the use of a perimeter road.


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