What is bushfire prone land?
Specific areas of land have been identified as being able to support a bushfire or likely to be subject to bush fire attack, as designated on a Bush Fire Prone Land Map. This includes most vegetated areas and all land within a specified distance of those vegetated areas. Special building standards and development restrictions apply to bushfire prone land in NSW.
The NSW Rural Fire Service provides answers to some frequently asked questions here.
Is my property on bushfire prone land?
Bush Fire Prone Land Maps identify which areas of a local government area are bushfire prone land. These maps are prepared by local councils and certified by the Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service. To check whether a property is within bushfire prone land:
All areas on the bushfire prone land map coloured yellow, orange or red are bushfire prone areas, and any properties fully or partially within these areas are subject to development restrictions and building standards. The different colours identify an area as Category 1, 2 or 3 Fire Prone Vegetation or within a specified distance (Buffer) of that vegetation. The different vegetation categories are important only in determining the extent of the surrounding buffer area and do not have differing impacts on development.
Note: The bush fire prone land map does not identify a property’s Bush Fire Attack Level (BAL) rating.
In response to devastating losses of life and property in past bushfire events, the NSW Government enacted legislative changes on 1 August 2002 to ensure bush fire matters were considered in the development process. These legislative changes resulted in the creation of section 79BA of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and section 100B of the Rural Fires Act 1997 which require all new development on bushfire prone land to comply with Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2006. This document forms the basis for all bushfire planning and bushfire protection measures for new development in NSW.
Building and development
If you are proposing to develop land that has been identified as bushfire prone, your development must meet the requirements of:
What information do I need to submit?
The exempt development standards will tell you what materials you can use, usually non-combustible materials or hardwood.
- No documents required as exempt development is a self-assessment
Submit the following with your Application for a Complying Development Certificate (CDC):
- Bush Fire Attack Level Risk Assessment Certificate
The certificate must be prepared by a suitably qualified consultant in bushfire risk assessment recognised by the NSW Rural Fire Service. The certificate must state:
- Bush Fire Attack Level (BAL) that applies to the property
- Proposed development conforms to the relevant specifications and requirements of Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2006
- Proposed development meets the applicable development standards for bush fire prone land in State EnvironmentalPlanning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008
Once we have received your Application for a CDC, our certifiers will assess that your development complies with AS3959-2009.
Submit the following with your Development Application (DA):
The report (and completion of certificate) must be prepared by asuitably qualified consultant in bush fire risk assessment recognised by the NSW Rural Fire Service. The reportmust state:
- Bush Fire Attack Level (BAL) that applies tothe property
- RelevantAsset Protection Zones(APZ) required
- Proposed development (including new landscaping) conforms to the relevant specifications and requirements ofPlanning for Bush Fire Protection 2006 and AS3959-2009
Make sure the plans referenced in the report and certificate match the plans submitted with your DA.
Where can I get help?
A suitably qualified consultant can prepare a Bushfire Attack Level Risk Assessment Certificate or Bushfire Risk Assessment Report for your development proposal. They can also provide advice on what building materials you can use in your development proposal.
For the purposes of State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 and section 79BA of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, the NSW Rural Fire Service recognises the consultants within the following accreditation schemes:
NSW Rural Fire Service
The NSW Rural Fire Service is an excellent source of information for building in a bushfire prone area and understanding bushfire terminology.
Will my DA be referred to the NSW Rural Fire Service?
The following DAs will be referred for consideration as part of the DA assessment process: