Prevention and Protection from Fires

To assist in the control of bush fire, or to prevent the spread or extension of a bush fire which may occur, all owners and occupiers of land within the City of Greater Geraldton local government area are required by law to undertake and maintain fire prevention measures from the beginning of October to May the following year.

Fire prevention and protection measures are essential to help slow the rate of spreading fire and to allow clear lines of vision, safer access and navigation for volunteer bush fire fighters whilst fire fighting.

Fire protection measures throughout the City of Greater Geraldton must be completed by 5 October 2017 and maintained until May 2018 and includes:

  • Small lots under 0.4ha regardless of whether the land is vacant or has a building.
  • Residential and Special Rural/Rural Residential/Rural Smallholding lots between 0.4ha and 5ha.
  • Broadacre farming and lots over 5ha.
  • Structures and buildings an all categories of land.

Fire Prevention Minimum Standards

Small lots under 0.4ha regardless of whether the land is vacant or has a building

  • Blocks must have flammable material, mowed or slashed to a maximum height of 7.5cm - ploughing and rotary hoeing are not permitted.
  • All wattle bush must be removed from vacant blocks unless written application is made to retain wattle prior to September 15 and approved.
  • Wattle bush must be managed on developed land.
  • All structures and buildings must have a minimum of 3 metres clearance of all flammable material.

Examples

Residential and Special Rural/Rural Residential/Rural Smallholding lots between 0.4ha and 5ha

  • Firebreaks must be mineral earth (bare earth), a minimum of 3 metres wide and have a minimum overhead clearance of 4 metres of have flammable material graded, mowed or slashed to a maximum height of 7.5cm over the entire property (excluding managed vegetation such as ornamental trees, distinct islands of vegetation remote from boundaries and assets).
  • All structures and building must have a minimum of 3 metres clearance of all flammable material. Structures include power poles (private).

Examples

Broadacre farming and lots over 5ha

  • Mineral earth firebreaks installed within 20 metres inside and along the whole external boundary of land held in contiguous ownership up to a maximum of of 200ha.
  • Firebreaks must be a minimum of 3 metres in width and have a minimum overhead clearance of 4 metres.
  • All structures and building must have a minimum of 3 metres clearance of all flammable material. Structures include power poles (private).

Examples

Fuel and/or gas depots

Owner occupiers of land on which any storage container is used to contain liquid fuel or gas, including land on which any ramp or supports are constructed shall have a 5 metre flammable material-free area surrounding the container.

Firebreaks

Firebreaks prevent fire from spreading; allow entry for fire fighting vehicles and provide a break from which back burning (when authorised) can take place to control a fire.  Firebreaks can also provide protection and an escape route for fire fighters.

Variations on Firebreaks

Variations on firebreaks will only be considered if presented in writing by 15 September 2017.  If it is considered for any reason to be impractical to clear firebreaks as required or natural features render firebreaks unnecessary you may make your case in writing to the City of Greater Geraldton.

Key Dates

  • 15 September 2017 - Deadline for applying (in writing) for variation on fire breaks.
  • 5 October 2017 - All fire prevention measure must be completed and then maintained until May 2018 (or within 14 days of becoming the owner or occupier, should this be after that date).
  • 6 October 2017 - Fire prevention work inspections begin.  Infringements for non-compliance will be issued from this date.
  • 1 May 2018 - End of firebreaks and fire prevention maintenance period.

Penalties

Penalties apply to persons who fail to comply with the requirements of the City of Greater Geraldton Firebreak Notice. This could be an infringement notice or prosecution. 

Where the owner fails to comply with the requirements as listed above, the City may engage a contractor to carry out the required work at the cost to the owner or occupier.

If contractors cannot attend to your work prior to the 5 October deadline; to avoid prosecution you must provide evidence that you made a booking with them prior to 5 October.

The infringement penalty for failure to maintain a firebreak (fire prevention work) as per firebreak order in $250.00.

Definitions

Building Protection Zone

A building Protection Zone is a fire protection zone:

a) in which all flammable material should be totally removed from the zone;

b) which comprises an area with a minimum clearance distance in all directions from the walls of the buildings or structures of at least 20 metres on flat land, which is to increase in all directions by 10 metres for every 10 degrees increase in slope;

c) which accommodates a turning area for heavy duty fire vehicle; and

d) which complies with the provisions of a Local Government adopted Fire Management Plan (FMP) or Town Planning Scheme (TPS) clause with respect to that property and the effect is such that the requirement under the FMP or TPS stipulates a greater area clear of flammable material or low fuel zone that required under part (b) above.

Bush

Bush includes trees, bushes, plants, stubble, scrub and undergrowth of all kinds whatsoever wether alive or dead and whether standing or not standing and also a part of a tree, bush, plant or undergrowth.

Fire Fighting Vehicle

A motor vehicle that:

  • Is capable of carrying at least 400 litres of water; and
  • is fitted with a pump and at least 15 metres of hose with a minimum diameter of 19mm and capable of delivering water through an adjustable nozzle.

Flammable Materialexample

All combustible material, dead or alive, in isolation, clusters or aggregation with other combustible materials that, in the opinion of a City Fire Control Officer is likely to fuel a fire.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Dead leaves, either on the ground or in gutters, fallen branches, long dry grass and weeds;
  • Dry vegetative matter on mineral earth firebreaks; and
  • Any tree within the Building Protection Zone or branch of a tree that may fall onto a building or, in the opinion of a City Fire Control Officer, constitutes a risk.

It does not include:

  • Vegetable patches, tended firewood stacks and timber, landscaped gardens, isolated planted shrubs, established natural or planted trees or patches of vegetation, that in the opinion of a City Fire Control officer, do not constitute an unacceptable fire risk;
  • Slashed, mowed or mulched dry vegetative material that is less than 75mm in depth; and
  • Distinct clusters of vegetation remote from boundaries and assets that in the opinion of a City Fire Control Officer do not

Mineral Earth

A mineral earth firebreak refers to the area being completely clear of everything but soil (bare earth) - can be generally achieved by ploughing or grading or early spraying that allows sufficient time for decomposition of dead grass/vegetation.

Example