Bushfires happen every summer in Victoria and we all have a part to play in reducing their impact. Surviving the fire season is shared responsibility between emergency services and the community.

The CFA and DEWLP will do everything they can to protect lives and property but there will never be enough fire fighters, fire trucks and aircraft to have these resources at everyone’s back door during a large bushfire.

Council has an obligation under the Country Fire Authority Act to contribute towards community safety. Our role is to undertake fire prevention measures within the municipality and ensure its residents take every opportunity to clean up their property to minimise any fire hazards.


Fire Prevention on Council Land

Council works to prevent fires starting on land under its management and to reduce the potential for fire to spread from Council’s land to adjoining properties should one start.

Council is responsible for 1400km’s of roadsides and several reserves in the Hepburn Shire. Every year Council develops a Roadside slashing program to reduce roadside fuels and reduce the likelihood of ignitions caused by hot vehicle parts. A works programs on parks and reserves is also developed to maintain areas of high public use through slashing and vegetation management.


Preparing your Property

Land owners and tenants also have a legal responsibility to maintain their property and ensure all fire risks are addressed. If you own a property that is currently being leased, as the owner, you are still responsible for ensuring that your property is prepared for the fire season.

Council is urging all property owners to plan in advance the reduction of fuel on their property and to maintain this level 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.

Example of unprepared land

Properties less than 1 acre (4,000m2)

  • Cut all grasses to a height not exceeding 100mm;
  • Remove all general rubbish and dead vegetation, such as leaf litter, branches, bark, twigs and building waste from your property;
  • Remove all noxious weeds from your land;
  • Clear roofs and gutters of leaves and sticks;
  • Ensure buildings are free from overhanging branches;
  • Cover and store wood piles away from the house;
  • 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;
  • Ensure buildings are free from overhanging branches;
  • Cover and store wood piles away from the house;
  • Create a fuel reduced zone of 20 metres around any buildings and structures (including haystacks) either by installing a mineral earth firebreak or by cutting grasses to a height not exceeding 100mm and removing noxious 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 immovable vehicles either by installing a mineral earth firebreak or by cutting grasses to a height not exceeding 100mm and removing noxious weeds and dead vegetation, such as leaf litter and fallen branches;
  • Create a 10 metre fuel reduced zone along all external boundaries where normal cropping and grazing activity is not occurring by installing a mineral earth firebreak or by slashing grasses to a height not exceeding 100mm;
  • Create a four (4) metre wide by four (4) 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, the 10/30 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. Check rules for your area by contacting Council’s Planning team on 5348 2306 or online with the CFA at www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/clearing-trees-and-vegetation/

For more information about how to prepare your property download a copy of the CFA Fire Ready Kits.


Fire Prevention Inspections

Prior to and during the fire season, the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer (MFPO), inspects properties within the Shire to ensure owners have complied with the Act and removed any fire hazards on their property.

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 ensures property owners carry out the necessary fire prevention measures to lessen the risk of fire threatening both themselves and their community.

If you receive a Fire Prevention Notice, it is important that you read the notice carefully and if you do not understand the notice or wish to discuss:

  • extra time to meet the notice requirements;
  • intention of keeping livestock on the property; or
  • intention of cutting hay;

you must contact the MFPO on 5348 2306 prior to the specified completion date.

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


Objecting to a fire prevention notice

You can object to the notice, by stating the grounds of the objection, in writing to the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer within 7 days of receiving a notice.

Within 14 days of receipt of an objection, Council will confirm, vary or withdraw the notice.


Reporting a fire hazard

If you are worried that a neighbouring property poses a fire danger hazard, please ensure you report the property to Council, we will investigate and issue a fire pre-prevention notice to the owner if required.


Further Information

If you require any further information in relation to Fire Prevention in the Hepburn Shire, please contact our Fire Prevention Officers on 5348 2306.