Firebreak Legal Requirements

Installing and maintaining firebreaks each year is a legal requirement for all land owners/occupiers within the Shire. Further information on firebreaks and your legal requirements can be found in the Shire's current Firebreak Notice below.

Firebreak Notice Booklet 2019-2020

The Serpentine Jarrahdale Shire maintains a list of local Firebreak Contractors, please see below. 

Emergency Services Contractors Contacts

Variation to Firebreak Orders

If you consider you cannot clear firebreaks as required by the Firebreak Notice, you may apply in writing to Council requesting permission to provide firebreaks in an alternative position or take alternative action to comply with the Firebreak Notice.

To apply for a variation please call 9526 1111 and reque/Profiles/sj/Assets/ClientData/Documents/Page-Centre/Community/Bushfire_Management_Plans_and_Bushfire_Attack_Level_Assessment_Contractors_2.pdfst a Variation to Firebreak Order Kit or fill out the request form below and return it to the Shire.

Variation to Firebreak Order Enquiry Form

Bushfire Management Plans

If your property has a bushfire management plan approved as part of a subdivision or planning application, there may be additional firebreak and fuel hazard reduction requirements. Further information on bushfire management plans can be found below.

FAQs Firebreaks

You can find out the answers to your queries on general Firebreak notices below.

What are firebreaks?

‘Firebreaks’ are defined in the Notice as ‘a strip of land that has been cleared of all trees, bushes, grasses and any other object or thing or flammable vegetation leaving clear, bare mineral earth.’

Firebreaks is also used as a generic term to describe the broader fire prevention work required by landowners, such as managing grasses and other fuels and maintaining an asset protection zone around dwellings.

Why are firebreaks required?

Firebreaks are required in order to provide a safe area for firefighters to work from in a bushfire, to prevent the extension of a bushfire, to prevent a fire entering or leaving your property and to provide a starting point to contain a bushfire.

Do firebreaks really work? I mean, fires can travel quickly and over large distances!

The Shire accepts that firebreaks will not stop a high intensity fire in extreme fire conditions. However, firebreaks will certainly stop or slow down a low to moderate intensity fire. Stopping a fire is not the sole purpose of firebreaks (refer to the question above for other reasons firebreaks are required). Firebreaks are only a part of the wider bushfire safety picture, so its important you undertake other preparation such as managing fuel loads on your property, creating a bushfire survival plan and establishing an asset protection zone around dwellings.

Why are there different firebreak requirements for different lot sizes?

Firebreak requirements are based on risk and land size. Check the Notice for the specific requirements of your property.

Can you recommend any contractors?

The Shire is unable to recommend any contractors for firebreak and fuel hazard reduction work.

There are a number of contractors which can be found locally, and the Serpentine Jarrahdale Community Resource Centre has a list of these contractors available online here.

Emergency Services Contractors

What is the best method for installing firebreaks/removing or reducing fuel loads?

Firebreaks can be installed by a number of means, including ploughing, grading and spraying. The firebreak needs to be clear, bare mineral earth with no remaining vegetation. Contractors can assist in advising on the best solution for your circumstances. Consider the environmental impact and water/soil erosion in firebreak construction.

Fuel loads can be managed through manual removal of fuels, mowing or slashing grasses, under pruning of trees and shrubs, chemical spraying and hazard reduction burning. Restrictions to hazard reduction burning may apply and further information is available on the Shire’s website.

Natural obstructions/topography/other circumstances make it impractical for me to install firebreaks in accordance with the requirements of the Notice. What can I do?

In circumstances where you consider it impractical to install standard firebreaks, you can make application to the Shire to modify your firebreak requirements. Please make contact with the Shire office to discuss this in greater detail.

I am concerned about the impact carrying out this work will have on the native flora/fauna?

The Notice has been created trying to balance the environment and the protection of life and property as much as possible.

If you are unsure about anything contained in the Notice please contact the Shire office.

The Shire verge on my property is overgrown and non-complaint. Will I get an infringement for this? Who is responsible for keeping the verge maintained? Am I allowed to clear the verge to make it compliant?

No, you will not receive an infringement notice for non-compliant Shire verge. Residents are encouraged to responsibly maintain the verge of their property, however if you have concerns please report them to the Shire in writing. You are not permitted to set fire to road verges at any time of the year without written permission from the Shire.

I never received the Firebreak and Fuel Hazard Reduction Notice 2019/2020

Under the Bush Fires Act 1954 the Shire is required to advertise the Firebreak & Fuel Hazard Reduction Notice in the local newspaper (The Examiner) and the WA Government Gazette. The Shire also posts the notice to landowners in September-October each year sing the rates database to ensure relevant information is received by the property owners and the community. If you have not received a copy of the Notice copies are available the Shire office, the Shire's website or alternatively a copy can be posted or to you upon request.

Where do these regulations come from? Who decides that we must do this?

The requirement for land owners/occupants to undertake fire prevention comes section 33 of the Bush Fires Act 1954. Local governments are responsible for specifying what land owners/occupants must do to comply. These require are developed in consultation with a range of key stakeholders including Bush Fire Brigade Officers, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, Department of Parks and Wildlife and internal Shire officers, before being endorsed and approved by the Chief Executive Officer.

When were we told about this process? we have never had to do this before?

These requirements are in place each year, there are advertisements placed in the local paper, Government Gazette and a Firebreak & Fuel Hazard Reduction Notice is posted to all landowners. It clearly states in the Firebreak & Fuel Hazard Reduction Notice that it is the property owner’s responsibility to ensure they comply with this Notice.

I didn't know what the Notice was so I threw it in the bin. I thought it was just a brochure, it wasn't clear to me it was a Firebreak & Fuel Hazard Reduction Notice and that I was required to take action.

It is important to read through this document, if you are unsure about any sections of the Notice please contact the Shire. The Notice sent to you clearly identifies that it is the landowner’s legal responsibility to be aware of the Notice requirements.

I have only just recently purchased the property and the real-estate agent/previous owner(s) did not inform me of any works required to be completed on the property. Why am I now liable when I didn't know?

The Shire includes information on the firebreak requirements of each property and the status of any outstanding firebreak related work orders, infringements and/or invoices in relation to non-compliance with the Notice in the orders and requisitions for all property sales in the Shire.

All new landowners are also posted a Welcome Pack which includes a copy of the current Firebreak & Fuel Hazard Reduction Notice.