Fire management

Each year the CFA declares a Fire Danger Period (FDP) for the Shire based on local environmental conditions. The CFA will advise of the Fire Danger Period towards the end of each year.

The Fire Danger Period restricts the use of fire in the community. Fire restrictions vary throughout the year depending on whether or not it is a Declared Fire Danger Period or a Total Fire Ban day. The CFA has information about what you can and can’t do during the Fire Danger Period.

Are you ready?

The warmer months present an increased risk of grassfires, which can spread quickly and are extremely dangerous. Mow or slash grass around buildings to help protect your assets and clear woodpiles and flammable items from around your home. Please operate machinery and outdoor equipment with care, as these may create sparks that can start a fire. Stay informed on hot, dry, windy days by monitoring conditions outside and tuning into a local emergency broadcaster, checking VicEmergency regularly and by downloading the VicEmergency app. Have an emergency plan in place and remember it is safest to leave early. For more information on being prepared for fires, visit our page on what to do before and during an emergency and the CFA website. See below for requirements.

Preparing your property

Landowners and land managers have a legal responsibility to maintain their property and ensure all fire risks are addressed in the lead-up to, and throughout the fire season.

You can reduce the risk to your home caused by a bushfire by taking the time to prepare your property well before the bushfire season starts. The following provides a guide to preparing your property and is generally what Council will be expecting during our Fire Prevention Inspections.

Properties less than 1 acre (4,000m2)
  • Cut all grasses to a height not exceeding 100mm.
  • Remove all general rubbish, noxious and environmental weeds and dead vegetation, such as leaf litter, branches, bark, twigs and building waste from your property.
  • Clear roofs and gutters of leaves and sticks and ensure buildings are free from overhanging branches.
  • Store wood piles away from your home and outbuildings.
  • Maintain your property for the whole of the Fire Danger Period.
Properties greater than 1 acre (4,000m2)
  • Clear roofs and gutters of leaves and sticks and ensure buildings are free from overhanging branches.
  • Store wood piles away from your home and outbuildings.
  • Create a 20-metre firebreak around buildings and structures (including haystacks). This can be through an earth firebreak or cutting grasses to a height not exceeding 100mm and removing weeds and dead vegetation, such as leaf litter and fallen branches.
  • Create a fuel reduced zone of 20 metres around all areas occupied by flammable liquids and derelict vehicles.
  • Create a 10-metre fuel reduced zone along all external boundaries.
  • Create a four metre wide by four metre high clearance zone that allows access for emergency service vehicles to buildings and water supplies, such as tanks, dams or swimming pools on your property.
  • Maintain your property for the whole of the Fire Danger Period.

In addition to this, the10/30 and 10/50 Rule allows land owners to clear trees and vegetation around buildings. Reducing the vegetation around your home is one of the most important things you can do to keep your home safe in a bushfire. Find out more about removing vegetation at our Other Planning information page or the CFA’s website.

Permits to burn / Register your burn

If you want to carry out a planned burn, you need a permit to burn. You can apply for a permit via Fire Permits Victoria or call the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) 1800 668 511.

The fire must be supervised by an adult at all times and suitable fire protection equipment must be available to extinguish the fire if required. Our Local Law states that only dry and dead vegetation can be burnt - no green garden waste or anything listed in the Local Law (eg. non-timber based building materials, rubber or plastic, furnishings or carpet, petroleum or oil products…to name a few). Two penalty units ($181.74 per penalty unit) for an infringement can be issued for not complying with the Local Law.

We encourage you to consider burning off as a last resort and, if you are contemplating this, please advise your neighbours.

Fire Prevention Inspections

Before and during the fire season, staff inspect properties within the Shire to ensure owners have removed fire hazards on their property. Council’s Fire Prevention Officers prioritise property inspections based on risk ratings of locations as determined by the Municipal Fire Management Planning Committee.

If a fire hazard has been detected on individual properties, a Fire Prevention Notice will be issued to the property owner specifying the work required to reduce the fire risk on their property.

The issuing of Fire Prevention Notices instructs property owners to carry out the necessary fire prevention measures to lessen the risk of fire threatening both themselves and the community.

If you receive a Fire Prevention Notice, it is important that you read the notice carefully. If you are having difficulties meeting the requirements, please Contact us before the specified completion date.

If you do not carry out the works required by the Fire Prevention Notice, an infringement (fine) will be issued and Council may arrange contractors to carry out the works listed on the notice at the property owner’s expense.

Fire prevention on Council land

Council is responsible for 1400kms of roadsides and several reserves in the Shire. Every year we develop a roadside slashing program to reduce roadside fuels and reduce the likelihood of ignitions caused by hot vehicle parts. We also carry out slashing and other activities at parks and reserves to reduce the risk of fires.

We work closely with the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s (DELWP) Fire Management Team to prepare Vegetation Management Plans for some of our reserves.