Fire Management Notice 

Download your 2020/2021 Fire Management Notice here.

FIRE MANAGEMENT NOTICE

Managing the risk of bushfire is a shared responsibility: local government, state government agencies and the community all need to do their part. This page contains important information on what you need to do to ensure your property is well prepared for the threat of bushfire.

Every year the City of Albany issues a Fire Management Notice that outlines the minimum requirements for all land owners and occupiers to prepare for the bush fire season. The Fire Management Notice is issued under Section 33 of the Bush Fire Act 1954 and the requirements contained within  are required by law. Non-compliance with the notice may result in penalties up to $5,000 per offence.

In past years the Fire Management Notice would be included with the delivery of the rates notice. However this year the notice is to be published in the local paper, on radio and through electronic media for the 2020/2021 fire season.

The fire mitigation measures must be completed and remain in place for the following times (unless otherwise advertised):

* The City of Albany has suspended the start of the Restricted Burning Times in the NORTH EAST SECTOR ONLY for 14 days.  The new start time for the Restricted Burning Period in the North East Sector will be 15 October 2020.  This may change due to weather conditions. * 

1 October to 30 April in the north east sector of the City (east of Manypeaks)

1 December to 14 May in the south west sector of the City (west of Manypeaks).

Variation to Fire Management Requirements

The City recognises that in some instances, land owners or occupiers may not physically be able to meet all of the fire management measures listed in the Fire Management Notice.

If this your situation, you must apply for a Variation to Fire Management Requirements to implement alternative fire mitigation measures. 

Your application must include supporting evidence of your capacity to prevent the start and spread of bushfire, which are at least as effective as the measures required in the Notice.

A Variation may be considered for the following reasons:

  • Property is steep and inaccessible and the installation of firebreaks or other fire mitigation measures would be dangerous or impractical.
  • Areas of rocky outcrops or cap stone naturally reduces the fire risk or prevents fire breaks from being installed.
  • Parts of the property is permanently water logged. (If only seasonally water logged, the Fire Management Requirements must be met as soon as the area has dried out sufficiently.)
  • Clearing of vegetation is likely to impact upon areas of declared rare flora or environmentally sensitive areas as defined under the Environmental Protection (Clearing of Native Vegetation) Regulations 2004.
  • Building positioning on block prevents the installation of an Asset Protection Zone of the required size.
  • For properties over 50ha that are bona fide agricultural operations:
    • the grazing of stock that results in grassland being maintained at a height of 50mm or less;
    • seasonal cropping that results in low fuel load being maintained. (Please note that the fire management requirements relating to Agricultural and Machinery Operations must be complied with.); and/or
    • heavy machinery available on the property to prevent the spread of fire (e.g. bulldozer, grader, plough, scarifier or front end loader).

Where a variation has been approved, any special conditions that have been placed on the variation must be complied with. Any requirements stipulated in the Notice for which a variation has not been granted must still be met.

How to apply for a variation:

  • Fill in a Variation to Fire Management form  (Please note that incomplete applications will not be processed.)
  • Include a detailed, legible map showing alternative fire mitigation measures
  • Applications can only be made by land owners or by a person authorised to act on their behalf.
  • The City will notify the applicant in writing of the outcome of the application.
  • Where a fire management plan is provided as part of the application, it must be completed by an accredited Bushfire Planning and Design (BPAD) practitioner. Visit the Fire Protection Association (FPA) Australia at http://www.fpaa.com.au/bpad/practitioners.aspx to contact a BPAD practitioner.

Property Mitigation Requirements

Asset protection zones:

All properties are to ensure that there is an Asset Protection Zone (APZ) around all habitable buildings.

An Asset Protection Zone is at least a 20 metre area (as far as practicable) within a property boundary  to reduce the bushfire hazard and create a defendable space.

If the development of you property includes APZ conditions, those conditions must be adhered to.

For all other properties the following applies:

  • Fine Fuel (combustible dead vegetation matter less than 6 millimetres in thickness) is to be reduced to and maintained at an average of two tonnes per hectare.
  • Branches that have the potential fall on the house must be removed
  • Clearance of 2.5 metres between trees and power lines.

Vegetable gardens, tended lawns, landscaped gardens and trees are acceptable if they are maintained. Fine fuel and dead vegetation must be reduced that in opinion of an inspecting COA officer it does not constitute an unacceptable fire risk

Additional information and recommendations on how prepare your property for the fire season can be found at www.dfes.wa.gov.au

Property Specific Requirements

The size and zoning of your property influences the type of mitigation measures you are required to enact. 

If you're unsure about the zoning of your property, visit the City's online map module.

Definitions

Brigade zone- the designated response area for specific volunteer bush fire brigades. A map is available at https://www.albany.wa.gov.au

Fine fuel- Combustible dead vegetation matter less than 6mm in thickness reduced to and maintained at an average of 2 tonnes/hectare. Does not include processed mulch below an average depth of 50mm

Harvest and Movement Bans- A municipality specific prohibition on the use of combustion powered vehicles driven in paddocks or bush areas, harvesting, and ‘hot works’ (includes welding, grinding, soldering and gas cutting) in the open air.

Hazard Specific Fire Break- a 3 metre low fuel area with vegetation below 50mm around, includes but is not limited to Haystacks, non-dwelling sheds, green power domes, power poles and fuel storage areas.

North East/ South West Sector- division of brigade boundaries in relation to where they are located within the Albany region. A map is available at www.albany.wa.gov.au/services/emergency-management/fire.aspx

Perimeter fire break- a continuous access track with the capacity to allow a firefighting truck to safely navigate the interior perimeter of a property. All vegetation on the break is to be maintained below 50mm in height. Standard dimensions are 3 meters wide with 4 meters vertical clearance and located within 20 metres of the property boundary.

Strategic fire break- a designated emergency access route included into subdivisions at a planning stage. Contact the City of Albany Planning Department to see if your subdivision has specific fire mitigation requirements.

Total fire ban- a DFES declaration on days of extreme weather or when widespread fires are seriously stretching firefighting resources. Certain activities and the lighting of any fires are restricted or prohibited. Refer to https://www.dfes.wa.gov.au for more information.

 

Special Residential, Rural Residential & Conservation Zoned Properties

If your property is zoned Special Residential, Rural Residential (Special Rural) or Conservation zones, it may be subject to zone-specific fire mitigation requirements that must be complied with. These measures can be contained in the Albany Local Planning Scheme, the subdivision guide plan (structure plan) or an approved bush fire management plan.

These additional fire mitigation measures may include (but are not limited to):

  •  Additional APZ requirements
  • Compliant access to dwellings.
  • Permanent water supply.
  • Maintenance of Strategic Fire Access Routes.
  •  Vegetation protection.

Any zoned properties without the above fire mitigation provisions or prohibitions on clearing for fire purposes are to comply with the conditions of this notice.

Paddock and grassed areas are to be maintained to reduce fine fuel loading.  

 For more information regarding zone-specific fire management measures, contact the City of Albany Planning Department.

 

Properties up to 4,000 m2

(May exclude some Conservation, Special Residential and Rural Residential zoned properties. please refer to the "Special Residential, Rural Residential (Special Rural) or Conservation zones" subsection)

 

The following mitigation requirements apply to vacant and developed land with an area of 4,000m2 or less.

  • Asset Protection Zone conditions.
  • Fine fuel load (see definitions) is to be reduced and maintained to an average of no more than two tonnes per hectare across the whole property.
  • Install hazard specific fire break

Properties over 4,000m2 and less than 50Ha

(May exclude some Conservation, Special Residential and Rural Residential zoned properties. please refer to the "Special Residential, Rural Residential (Special Rural) or Conservation zones" subsection)

The following fire mitigation measures apply to vacant and developed land with an area between 4,000m2 and 50 Ha:

  • Perimeter fire break
  • Hazard specific fire break
  • Asset Protection Zone conditions.
  • Maintain fine fuel load to an average of 8 tonnes per hectare or less across the whole property

 

 

Properties over 50Ha

Non-agricultural Properties

Non-agricultural properties with an area over 50 Ha require the following measures:

  • Hazard specific breaks
  • Asset Protection Zone conditions
  • perimeter fire break

You can apply for a Variation to Requirements if your property is managed in a way that:

  • reduces the risk of bush fire; or
  • You have additional capacity for preventing the outbreak and/or spread of bushfire.

 

Agricultural Properties

During restricted and prohibited burning times, all tractors and trucks involved in harvesting operations are to carry a hand-held fire extinguisher. All harvesting machinery must carry a fire extinguisher

You can apply for a Variation to Requirements if your property is managed in a way that:

  • reduces the risk of bush fire; or
  • you have additional capacity for preventing the outbreak and/or spread of bushfir

If a Variation is not granted the following requirements apply:

  • Asset Protection Conditions.
  • Hazard specific fire breaks
  • Perimeter fire breaks.
  • Cropping paddocks must be broken into compartments not exceeding 250Ha in  area  each separated by internal fire break
  • During harvest operations, a fully operational self- propelled (i.e. not trailer mounted) fire fighting unit with a minimum water capacity of 600 litres is to be located in the paddock being harvest Where two or more harvesting machines are operating, the minimum water capacity is to be 1,000 litres.

 

Plantation and Regeneration Lots

Owners and lessees of plantation and regeneration lots must comply with the conditions detailed in DFES "Guidelines for Plantation Fire Protection".  (Available from  the DFES website at www.dfes.wa.gov.au)

The following measures are also required (unless a variation has been granted by the City of Albany):

  • Provide a red PVC container at the main entry point to the property containing map(s) showing water points, tracks and contact det
  • Ensure the property is broken into compartments not exceeding 250Ha in area and separated by internal fire breaks 6 metres wide and with 4 metres vertical clear
  • Install a 15 metres wide fire break devoid of vegetation with a height above 50mm under all power lines.

Fire Breaks

For more information about constructing and maintaining your fire breaks download the DFES Guide to Constructing and Maintaining Fire Breaks.

Perimeter Fire Breaks

Perimeter fire breaks are required on properties larger than 4,000m2.

  • Fire breaks must be 3 metres wide with 4 metres vertical clearance.
  • The land must be ploughed, cultivated, scarified, chemically sprayed, slashed or otherwise cleared to a maximum vegetation height of 50mm.
  • Any overhanging branches, trees, shrubs must be cleared to a vertical height of 4m over the designated fire break.
  • A perimeter fire break should be constructed as close as possible to the property boundary and must be placed within 20 metres of the property boundary.
  • Fire breaks longer than 400m should include a fire appliance turning area of at least 10 metre diameter at appropriate locations to allow fire vehicles to safely exit a property.

Hazard Specific Fire Breaks

If you have any of the following on your property, regardless of the property size, fire breaks must be constructed around them as follows:

  • Green power domes –3 metre fire break
  • Wood heaps and hay stacks – 3 metre fire break
  • Fuel storage areas – 3 metre fire break
  • Garden refuse piles – 3 metre fire break
  • Power poles - 2.5 metre fire break

Fire Break Standards are Your Responsibility

If a contractor has been engaged to install fire breaks on a property, the landowner/occupier is responsible for ensuring that the fire break meets the required standards.

Strategic Fire Access Route (Strategic Fire Break)

A Strategic Fire Access Route (SFAR), previously referred to as Strategic Fire Break, is both a major fire access road and a major fire break designed to allow a heavy duty fire appliance to access properties.

Where a SFAR is located on your property, you will be required to install and maintain it, to the satisfaction of the City.

SFAR do not replace the requirement for individual perimeter fire breaks unless this is specified in an approved Bushfire Management Plan or Scheme plan .

The SFAR must not be obstructed by buildings, fences, tree planting and so on. Unlocked gates are to be provided on property boundaries where the SFAR crosses.

Strategic Fire Access Routes must meet the following conditions:

  • be a minimum of 6m wide
  • be maintained clear of all fire fuel
  • have an all-weather trafficable surface of at least 4m
  • have a vertical clearance of at least 4.5m
  • include a turning area (minimum radius of 10m) approximately every 500m
  • have places installed every 100m, which should be 20m long and 6m wide.

Details of the locations of SFARs are included in Bushfire Management Plans and sub-division guide plans or can be obtained from the City of Albany Planning Department.

Bushfire Management Plans

Where an approved Bushfire Management Plan is in place, all properties covered by the Plan are to comply with the conditions of that Plan.

This includes maintenance of all strategic fire access tracks, emergency access ways and fire service access routes that may be present on your property. If you are unsure if your property is covered by a Bushfire Management Plan, please contact the City of Albany Planning Department.

Please note that a Bush Fire Management plan approved by the City can be used to set the standard for or vary the fire management notice for an individual property or for a number of properties.

If you are unsure if your property is covered by a Bushfire Management Plan, please contact the City of Albany.

Bush Fire Prone Areas

Houses located in bush fire prone areas constructed after April 2016, or any extensions built from that time, must comply with the Department of Planning’s State Planning Policy 3.7. These dwellings shall comply with the definition of APZ as per section A2.1 of the Department of Planning’s Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas.

For more information visit the Department of Planning website.

A map of bush fire prone areas is available on the DFES website.

For more information visit the Department of Fire & Emergency Services Building Protection Zone webpage.

Inspections and Compliance

Officers authorised under the Bush Fire Act 1954 will be conducting inspections during the fire season to ensure compliance. 

Officers and contractors can legally enter your property for this purpose.

If you have concerns about a property not being compliant during the fire season, please contact the City of Albany on 6820 3000 or through the "Report It" online form.

Limitations and Clarifications

The Fire Management Notice is intended to be the minimum requirements a landowner or occupier is to enact. The clearing of native or protected bush may require additional approval.

The is beyond the notice to:

  • Wholesale clear above the requirements of the notice,
  • Force neighbour's to trim overhanging branches,
  • Create a protection zone outside of your property boundary,
  • Lower BAL conditions on neighbouring land,