According to the Bush Fires Act 1954, property owners are required to carry out fire prevention works, such as firebreaks, on land that is owned or occupied.
A firebreak means a strip of land which has been cleared of all flammable material, such as wood, leaves and grass that is likely to be ignited and capable of burning. It must be also be trafficable, meaning it must be capable of being driven on from one point to another by any emergency services vehicle on a clear surface, without any obstruction to the vehicle. A firebreak cannot terminate or lead to a dead end.
Approved methods of clearing include ploughing, grading, cultivating, scarifying, raking, burning and chemical spraying (reticulated and maintained green lawn is acceptable as a fire break).
The works outlined below must be completed before 1 November and maintained in this state up to and including 31 May each year (subject to change).
Asset Protection Zone
An area which includes:
- Undertaking measures such as pruning all lower tree branches to prevent fire entering the trees;
- Ensuring 3 metres spacing between tree canopies to prevent treetop fires spreading between trees;
- Keeping all grasses to a height of not more than 50 millimetres; and
- Storing all firewood piles more than 20 metres away from the buildings.
Firebreak requirements for land with an area of 4000sqm or less
- Installation of a 3 metre wide trafficable firebreak with a vertical clearance of not less than 3.5 metres as close as possible to all external boundaries of the property; or
- Removal of all flammable material, with the exception of living trees from the property.
Firebreak requirements for land with an area of 4000sqm or greater
- Installation of a 3 metre wide trafficable firebreak with a vertical clearance of not less than 3.5 metres as close as possible to all external boundaries of the property;
- Where it is not possible to install the firebreak adjacent to the external boundary of the property due to naturally occurring obstacles, it is acceptable to install the firebreak around the obstacle. If this variation requires the firebreak to be greater than 5 metres away from the external boundary, a firebreak variation is required; and
- Installing and maintaining a 20 metre asset protection zone surrounding all buildings, large hay stacks and fuel storage areas.
Variation to firebreak requirements
If you consider that it is impracticable for any reason to implement any of the above requirements, an application must be made no later than 18 October each year (subject to change) to the City of Wanneroo for permission to provide alternative fire mitigation measures.
An application to vary the requirements does not constitute approval until written permission is granted by the City of Wanneroo.
3 metre wide trafficable firebreak (with a vertical clearance of not less than 3.5 metres as close as possible to external boundary)
Non-compliant Firebreak (showing grass/weed regrowth and with no vertical 3.5 metre clearance)
The City of Wanneroo may at any time after 1 November each year conduct fire break inspections on properties. Failure to comply may result in a penalty of up to $5,000. Additionally, the City of Wanneroo may carry out the required works at your cost.
For further information call the City of Wanneroo Community Safety and Emergency Management Team on 9405 5000