Preparing for the fire season
Preparing your property
Make sure that grass, leaves, bark and twigs are removed from around your home, shed and garages.
You may be able to burn off in some areas but make sure to check burning off restrictions first.
The CFA has more information on how to maintain your property. You can also assess your fire risk with the CFA's interactive tool.
Fire Hazard Inspections
Fire prevention is everyone's responsibility and now is the time to get fire ready.
Our fire prevention inspectors check properties across the Yarra Ranges in the lead up to and during the fire danger period.
If your property is deemed a risk, you will receive a fire prevention notice. To find out more about fire prevention notices, read our FAQ's page.
If you do not clean up, you will face penalties including:
- All contractor costs, plus
- Administration costs of $230, plus
- A fine of $1,849
Find out more about our fire hazard inspection process.
Smokey days and tips for breathing easier
Australian homes vary in type of construction and age and some are better at sealing the interior from the outdoor smoke (or heat). Minimising the entry of smoke into one’s home is an important first step in managing smoke from bushfires. Personnel from home support programs and other council services could provide practical knowledge and information to help their clients maintain the best possible indoor air quality.
Residents can reduce their exposure to PM2.5 in their home by:
• When outdoor air quality is poor, keeping doors and windows closed as much as possible and covering gaps under doors leading to the outside with towels.
• Remembering to open the house up (open doors and windows) when outdoor air improves.
• Stopping activities that make indoor air quality worse such as smoking indoors, burning candles or incense, or stirring up dust by sweeping or vacuuming (unless the vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter).
• Resting indoors in the coolest room(s) in the house.
• Keeping up to date with active bushfires in the area using Vic Emergency website or App, listening to radio or watching TV and where possible reviewing air quality information on the Environment Protection Authority’s Air Watch website https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/for-community/airwatch
• Staying with a friend or relative outside the smoke-affected area until air quality improves if you are in an at-risk group for smoke exposure (and it is practicable and safe to leave).
• If using an indoor air cleaner, following the manufacturer’s instructions and reading the Smoke and the use of portable indoor air cleaners (EPA Victoria Publication 1809 January 2020 at www.epa.vic.gov.au )
• Taking a few hours’ break by visiting a local cleaner air space when the house gets too hot or smoky. This may be the local library, community health centre or other public building promoted by the local council. Shopping centres or cinemas are also useful where available.
• Given bushfires frequently occur during hot weather and it is important people drink enough water to avoid dehydration and if hot, use a fan or air conditioner (on recycle) to keep cool.
What we'll do
Annual Fire Slash Program
We take fire prevention very seriously. To reduce fire fuel and hazards on local roads, Council runs an annual fire slashing program.
Our fire slashing program involves mowing grass in reserves and roadsides between October and January each year. Residents will see an increase in mowing in the lead-up to, and throughout, the fire season.
We run a slashing program to remove vegetation and grass that could become fuel in a grass or bushfire in our reserves and roadsides. This will mean that there will be less fuel on public land that could cause a fire to spread.
During fire slashing, variable speed limits may be enforced and motorists may experience small delays as works are completed.
Council is responsible for many of the parks, reserves and roadsides across the Yarra Ranges, however other authorities also manage fuel reduction works across the municipality, including the Department of Transport (formerly VicRoads), the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning (DELWP) and Melbourne Water. You can view the full list of roadsides and reserves in our Fire Slash Program online.
Fire Slash Program FAQ's
When will my road or reserve get slashed?
The critical component of the annual fire slash program commences in early November through to the end of December, with some supplementary works completed in January.
The program follows the natural progression of the drying environment, beginning in the more open, grassed regions and ending in the cooler, moister mountain regions. For an estimate of when your road will be slashed see the annual fire slash program above.
What if I have a concern about bushfire risk on council land?
Contact Council on 1300 368 333, or check the fire slash program to see if the area is on the program.
If the area you are concerned about is not on the program or you are still concerned, call us on 1300 368 333 to seek clarification or submit a request for the area to be inspected.
Why didn’t they finish the job?
The roadside fire slash is undertaken with both box slashers behind a tractor, and reach arm slashers which mow the roadside embankments and more difficult areas. The reach arm slashers could take up to a week to follow up after the box slashers have been through. We appreciate your patience while the process is completed.
Why did the slashers miss some areas?
The slashing program aims to significantly reduce the fire risk in roadsides, however Council is still required under legislation to protect significant native vegetation, including some grasses. We achieve this without impacting the effectiveness of the program.
In some cases, smaller areas of exotic grasses and weeds cannot be reached with the equipment required to deliver such a large volume of work. This will not impact the effectiveness of the program.
Why can’t you just slash my road now?
The annual Fire Slash Program runs according to a meticulously planned schedule. We cannot pull machinery off the scheduled route for the following reasons:
⦁ The fire slash program is scheduled based on the way the municipality dries out (i.e. the areas that dry out first get cut first, and the wetter areas that dry out later are cut later).
⦁ If the contractors start cutting too early the grass will be cut while it is green and not a fire risk, and it is more likely to re-grow and dry out later, when the fire risk is higher.
⦁ Due to the amount of planning, traffic management, and expensive equipment that goes into the cutting of each road, and the limited number of contractors who are able to carry out this specialised work, if the fire slash does not run as scheduled, the program is only delayed further.
Why won’t you slash green grass?
When grass is green, the moisture content of the ground means that the risk of fire is reduced. If we cut grass when it is still green, the grass is more likely to re-grow and dry out later, when the fire risk is higher.