; Firebreaks - City of Wanneroo
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Firebreaks

The Bush Fires Act 1954, requires all land owners 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 trafficable, meaning it must be accessible by a fire appliance and cleared of vegetation to a maximum height of 50mm, without any obstruction to the vehicle.  A firebreak cannot terminate or lead to a dead end. 

Land owners can clear firebreaks by ploughing, grading, cultivating, scarifying, raking, burning and chemical spraying (reticulated and maintained green lawn is acceptable as a fire break). 

Fire management requirements for land less than 4000m²

  • Maintain grasses and flammable materials with the exception of living trees on the entire property to a height of no more than 50 millimetres.  The entire property is required to be maintained below 50 millimetres from 1 November each year until 30 April the following year OR
  • A 3 metre wide trafficable fire break as close as possible to all external boundaries of the property must be installed by 1 November each year and maintained until 30 April the following year OR
  • Where it is not possible to install the fire break adjacent to the external boundary of the property due to naturally occurring obstacles, it is acceptable to install the fire break around the obstacle.  If this requires the fire break to be greater than 5 metres away from the external boundary, a fire break variation is required.  
  • Ensure a minimum vertical clearance of 4 metres is maintained along the fire breaks to enable vehicles to drive along the fire breaks without its access being obstructed.
  • Where a property is affected by an approved bushfire management plan, property owners must still comply with all requirements in the Fire Break Notice and with any additional requirements outlined within that plan.

Fire management requirements for land greater than 4000m²

  • A 3 metre wide trafficable fire break as close as possible to all external boundaries of the property must be installed by 1 November each year and maintained until 30 April the following year OR 
  • Where it is not possible to install the fire break adjacent to the external boundary of the property due to naturally occurring obstacles, it is acceptable to install the fire break around the obstacle.  If this requires the fire break to be greater than 5 metres away from the external boundary, a fire break variation is required.  
  • Ensure a minimum vertical clearance of 4 metres is maintained along the fire breaks to ensure vehicles can drive along the fire breaks without being impeded by tree branches;
  • Install and maintain a 20 metre bare earth area around all hay stacks and fuel dumps. 
  • Where a property is affected by an approved bushfire management plan, property owners must still comply with all requirements in the Fire Break Notice and with any additional requirements outlined within that plan.

All vacant land greater than 4000m²

  • A 3 metre wide trafficable fire break as close as possible to all external boundaries of the property must be installed by 1 November each year and maintained until 30 April the following year.
  • Ensure a minimum vertical clearance of 4 metres is maintained along the fire breaks to ensure vehicles can drive along the fire breaks without being impeded by tree branches.
  • If the land is an area greater than 4000m² but less than 50,000m² (5 hectares) all grass on the land must be maintained to a height of less than 50 millimetres.
  • If the land is an area of 50,000m² (5 hectares) or greater, the grass must be maintained on the land to a height no greater than 5cm for a distance of 10m from any fire break.  

FIREBREAKS MUST BE INSTALLED BY THE 1ST OF NOVEMBER EACH YEAR AND MAINTAINED UNTIL THE 30TH OF APRIL THE FOLLOWING YEAR.

The City of Wanneroo conducts fire break inspections from 1 November each year.  Failure to comply may incur penalties of up to $5000.  The works required will be carried out by the City of Wanneroo at the expense of the owner/occupier.

Compliant firebreak

A compliant fire break needs to be 3m wide and trafficable with a vertical clearance of not less than 4m.

Non-compliant firebreak

This non-compliant fire break shows grass/weed regrowth and no vertical 4m clearance.

How to check your property size

Fire mitigation requirements are dependent on your property size. Visit the City's mapping system and follow the steps below to check the size of your property:

Visit the City's GIS mapping system. Select 'I accept' and then click on 'Continue'

GIS Screen 1

Click on 'House Search'.

GIS Screen 2

Type in your property address and click on 'Search'. Your property size will be displayed in the column on the right-hand side of the screen under 'Area'. It will be displayed in square metres (M) or hectares (H).

GIS Screen 3

Application to vary the above requirements

If it is considered impracticable for any reason to implement any of the above requirements, an application for a fire break variation must be made no later than 18th October of each year to the City of Wanneroo for permission to provide alternative fire mitigation measures and will remain in effect unless significant changes to the property occur or the City of Wanneroo revokes the variation.

If permission is not granted, the above requirements must be complied with.  

Apply for a Firebreak Variation

Firebreak Notice and information

Frequently asked questions

I live in a residential area, does the Fire Mitigation notice apply to me?
Yes.  All property owners must comply with the Fire Mitigation Notice.  This is a requirement under the Bush Fires Act 1954.

Most properties under 1000sqm will automatically comply if dead leaves and twigs have been cleared, trees and shrubs are pruned and lawns are kept short and green where possible.

Refer to the Bushfire Fact Sheet - Am I at risk from Bushfire? issued by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services to help understand your bushfire risk.  

Do I need a Bushfire Survival Plan?
If you live within the City of Wanneroo, the chances are you either live in or near bushland.  Almost all of the City has been classified as having high to extreme risk of bushfire.  

Your best chance of surviving a bushfire is to plan what you would do if one was to come your way.  Prepare your plan, discuss and share it with members of your household/network and test it.  

For further information on how to prepare a Bushfire Survival Plan, visit DFES | 5 Minute Fire Chat.  

I am concerned my neighbour’s property is not compliant, what can I do?
All properties are required to be compliant by 1 November and maintained in that state until 30 April each year.  

If you think your neighbour’s property does not comply with the requirements as outlined in the Fire Mitigation Notice, please let the City know by calling 9405 5000.  

Remember, even if your neighbour’s property is compliant or non-complaint, you still need to have a Bushfire Survival Plan if you live in a bushfire prone area.  

When does the City conduct property inspections and which properties will they inspect?  
The City conducts property inspections from 1 November each year on properties that are classified as high risk.  

The fire risk on a property is determined by a number of factors.  The higher the risk factors that apply to a property, the more fire protection measures are needed.  

Factors determining risk levels include the length of the fire season, how steep any slope is, how much vegetation exists and how dry it is, how often bushfires have occurred in the area and finally, how good and accessible existing roads are.  

What will happen if a property is non-complaint?
If a property owner has failed to meet the requirements outlined in the Fire Mitigation Notice, they will be fined $250 and be required to carry out necessary work.

Continued failure to comply may incur penalties of up to $5,000.  Works required will be completed by the City at the expense of the owner/occupier.

Fire Mitigation Requirements are dependent on property sizes.  How can I find out the size of my property?
Access the City’s Geographic Information System (GIS) and follow the instructions above to determine the size of your property.

I own vacant land, does the Fire Mitigation Notice apply to me? 
Yes.  All property owners must comply with the Fire Mitigation Notice, including those that own vacant land.  

Vegetation on the entire property (except living trees) must be maintained below 50 millimetres from 1 November each year.  If this is not possible, then a 3 m wide firebreak must be installed.  

Please see the Fire Mitigation Notice for further requirements on all vacant land greater than 4000sqm.  

The Fire Mitigation Notice has additional requirements this year.  Why has this changed?
Firebreaks are now required to have a minimum vertical clearance of 4 metres.  This has been introduced to allow for larger firefighting vehicles to access property and protect it.  

For land greater than 4000sqm, a 20 metre bare earth area around all hay stacks and/or fuel dumps needs to be installed and maintained.  This will provide sufficient space and safety for firefighters to perform bushfire suppression activities and avoid a fire gaining greater intensity and flame length.  

I am unable to meet the requirements in the Fire Mitigation Notice.  What should I do?
Where it is not possible to install a firebreak as outlined in the Fire Mitigation Notice, an application for a variation to the Firebreak Notice must be made no later than 18 October each year.  Visit wanneroo.wa.gov.au/firebreakvariation or contact the City on 9405 5000.  
All other requirements in the Fire Mitigation Notice must be complied with.  

Where can I learn more about preparing my property and home for bushfire?  

Additional works

In addition to the requirements of this Notice, further works may need to be carried out to reduce the risk of bushfire which are considered necessary by a City of Wanneroo Authorised Officer and in line with the City’s Bushfire Risk Management Plan.  Landowners who need to carry out further works will be notified via a separate letter to the address of the owner/s as shown on the City of Wanneroo rates record for the relevant land.  

For further information call the City of Wanneroo Community Safety and Emergency Management Team on 9405 5000