Landscaping in a bushfire zone

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This is general advice and may not apply specifically to your property. For more detailed information on your personal circumstances please contact the Rebuilding Planning Team on 9294 6594.

Following the June 2021 storms, along with properties being destroyed or damaged, gardens were also heavily hit.

If your property is in a Bushfire Management Overlay Zone it may be worth thinking about landscaping and replanting for bushfire protection.

The type, quantity and condition of fuel has a very important effect on bushfire behaviour. The survivability of buildings, and of those who occupy and shelter in them, can be significantly enhanced or endangered by the type of plants around the building.

The general principles for landscaping in a bushfire prone area is to provide separation between plants vertically and horizontally and break up flower beds with lawns and paths. Use stone/gravel mulch close to the house and place clothes lines, furniture and BBQs away from the house.

Landscaping for Bushfire(PDF, 6MB) has been developed by CFA. The most effective way to reduce risk in the garden is to focus on the location and arrangement of fuel on your property. Even though all plants burn, measures can be taken to reduce fire intensity from garden plants.

This guide identifies what you can do within defendable space to minimise the risk of losing your house or threatening the lives of occupants in a bushfire.

Landscaping for Bushfire bridges the gap between vegetation management and the Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO), providing advice on how to plan and maintain a garden while meeting planning permit conditions within the BMO.

Some other landscaping tips include:

  • Position gas bottles away from the main structure where they can be suitably restrained. Ensure that gas bottles vent away from structures into clear air and do not hinder your main movement or escape routes.
  • Consider what materials you use for landscape features. If possible, use non-combustible materials such as stone, concrete or masonry or more resilient native timbers.
  • Consider use of non-flammable materials in waste treatment beds if you need to create them on steeper slopes.
  • Avoid the use of flammable materials close to the house. For example, treated pine steps can ignite doors.
  • Avoid storing flammable things under houses.
  • Think about how septic tank effluent can be used to sustain a green break around structures.
  • Remember to only use metal pipes and fittings for all water systems above ground. A melted plastic pipe at the bottom of the hill can let all your firefighting water escape and will not comply with CFA requirements.