Bush fire prone land

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Specific areas of land have been identified as being able to support a bush fire 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 bush fire prone land in NSW.

The NSW Rural Fire Service provides answers to some frequently asked questions here.

Is my property identified as bush fire prone land?

Bush Fire Prone Land Maps identify which areas of a local government area are bush fire 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 bush fire prone land:

All areas on the bush fire prone land map coloured yellow, orange or red are bush fire 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 as being 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.

Legal framework

In response to devastating losses of life and property in past bush fire events, on 1st of August 2002, the NSW Government enacted legislative changes 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 bush fire prone land to comply with Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2006. This document forms the basis for all bush fire planning and bush fire protection measures for new development in NSW.  

Building and development in a bush fire prone area

If you are proposing to develop land that has been identified as bush fire prone, your development must meet the requirements of:

What information do I need to submit?

 

Exempt Development

 

The exempt development standards will tell you what materials you can use, usually non-combustible materials or hardwood.

  • No documentsrequired as exempt development is a self-assessment

 

 

Complying Development

 

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 bush fire risk assessment recognised by the NSW Rural Fire Service. The certificate must state:

  1. Bush Fire Attack Level (BAL) that applies to the property
  2. Proposed development conforms to the relevant specifications and requirements of Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2006
  3. Proposed development meets the applicable development standards for bush fire prone land in State Environmental Planning 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.

Development Application

 

Submit the following with your Development Application (DA):

The report (and completion of certificate) must be prepared by a suitably qualified consultant in bush fire risk assessment recognised by the NSW Rural Fire Service. The report must state:

  1. Bush Fire Attack Level (BAL) that applies to the property
  2. Relevant Asset Protection Zones (APZ) required
  3. Proposed development (including new landscaping) conforms to the relevant specifications and requirements of Planning 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 website

Excellent source of information for building in a bush fire prone area and understanding bush fire terminology. 

NSW Rural Fire Service

Will my DA be referred to the NSW Rural Fire Service?

The following DAs will be referred to the NSW Rural Fire Service for consideration as part of the DA assessment process: