BUSHFIRE PRONE AREAS


Bushfire prone areas are those that can support a bushfire or are likely to be subject to bushfire attack. These are generally areas consisting of or close to bushfire hazards such as forest or grasslands.

A bushfire prone area is an area within 100m of a high or medium bushfire hazard or within 30m of a low bushfire hazard. These areas are subject to development and planning controls designed to improve the bushfire safety of constructions that face greater risk of bushfire threat.

Local councils have identified bushfire prone areas in collaboration with the Rural Fire Service and these are marked out on Bush Fire Prone Land Maps for each local government area in the State.

To find out if you live in a bushfire prone area, contact your local council. Ask about your local Bush Fire Prone Land Map.

If the land on which I want to build a house is in a bushfire prone area, will I be able to develop the land as I had proposed?

If you want to build a residential dwelling, or do renovations requiring council consent in a bushfire prone area, you must meet the standards in Planning for Bushfire Protection, 2001. The guidelines in Planning for Bushfire Protection, 2001 require certain protective measures to render a building less susceptible to damage or destruction from bushfires.

If your development does not comply with Planning for Bushfire Protection, 2001, council will refer your application to the local RFS Fire Control Centre who will make recommendations about ways to improve bushfire protection for the dwelling.

If you wish to subdivide for residential purposes or build a special fire protection purpose development (e.g. school, childcare centre, nursing home, hospital or tourist accomodation) you are required to get a Bushfire Safety Authority from the RFS. This is to ensure that a suitable level of protection is provided for the more vulnerable people who use these facilities.

Any modification required to ensure a structure meets the necessary standards will be the subject of negotiation between the developer and the relevant authorities.

Development in bushfire prone areas is subject to guidelines in Planning for Bushfire Protection, 2001 and the Australian Standard: 3959 Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas (AS:3959).

You can find out if you live in a bushfire prone area by asking your local council and looking at their Bush Fire Prone Land Map. This will also be noted on a Section 149 Certificate for the subject site, obtainable from Council.

If you want to build a residential dwelling, or do renovations requiring council consent in a bushfire prone area, you must meet the standards in Planning for Bushfire Protection, 2001 in order for council to pass your development application.

If your development does not comply with Planning for Bushfire Protection, 2001, council will refer your application to the local RFS Fire Control Centre who will make recommendations about ways to improve bushfire protection for the dwelling.

If you wish to subdivide for residential purposes or build a special fire protection purpose development (e.g. school, childcare centre, nursing home, hospital or tourist accomodation) you are required to get a Bushfire Safety Authority from the RFS. This is to ensure that a suitable level of protection is provided for the more vulnerable people who use these facilities.

Contact your local Fire Control Centre or RFS Development Control Services on (02) 8741 5555 for more information.

Two RFS publications provide step-by-step guidelines for submitting development applications for construction in bushfire prone areas.

The construction standards to which a development must comply are determined by the category of bushfire attack for an area.

You can purchase Australian Standard 3959 Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas (AS:3959) from Standards Australia. Visit their website:


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