The Shire of Augusta Margaret River provides an annual Firebreak Notice to property owners in the region. The Notice determines what steps a property owner must take to facilitate easy access for a fire appliance on their land in an emergency. 

This page details important information regarding the Notice, including dates, definitions, requirements, inspections, access, variations, and compliance.  

Annual firebreak notice

The Annual Firebreak Notice sets out the requirements for property preparedness to assist in the control of fires and reduce the risk of fire to the community. A summary is provided below.

All land is to be maintained from 30 November up to and including 12 May as specified in the Notice. Properties subject to an approved Bushfire Management Plan must comply with the requirements of their Plan.

Important dates

Spring/Summer Restricted Burning Period

Permits required 

9 November to 22 December

Deadline for Prevention Works

Installed on or before 30 November

Maintained up to and including 12 May

Prohibited Burning Period

Burning Prohibited

 23 December to 14 March

Autumn Restricted Burning Period

Permits required 

15 March to 12 May

Definitions

For the purpose of the Notice, the following definitions apply: 

Firebreak means an area of land that has been cleared of all trees, bushes, grasses, and any other object or thing which may be flammable, leaving a bare surface to the prescribed width as outlined in the table below, and with a four (4) metre high vertical clearance. 

Where a Firebreak is required to be ‘trafficable’ under the Notice, it must be a firm, stable surface capable of allowing a 4WD fire appliance to enter, exit and turn any corner (10m radius) without reversing.

Asset Protection Zone (APZ) means the area of land within 20 metres from the external walls of any habitable building. The fuel loading (flammable material) in the APZ is to be reduced and maintained to less than two (2) tonnes per hectare. Trees must not be closer than two (2) metres to a building, and trees must not overhang a building within four (4) metres of the external roof. 

Please note: APZ requirements apply to all properties (excluding vacant lots), regardless of size, and must be maintained all year round. 

Driveway / Access Way means the access route from the road to your main dwelling. This should be a minimum of four (4) metres wide with a minimum of four (4) metre vertical clearance to allow emergency vehicles to access your property.

A Bushfire Management Plan is a plan that has been developed and approved by the Shire to reduce and mitigate fire hazards within a subdivision, or as part of a development approval.

Properties subject to an approved Bushfire Management Plan must comply with the requirements of their plan in addition to the requirements of the Notice.

Note: where the requirements of a Bushfire Management Plan are inconsistent with the requirements of the Notice, owners should apply for a Variation to the Firebreak Notice, otherwise the higher level of protection is to apply. 

Plantation means any area of planted pines, eucalypt, hardwood or softwood trees exceeding three (3) hectares in area.

Summary of firebreak notice requirements

All landowners/occupiers must carry out fire prevention work in accordance with the requirements of the Firebreaks Notice on or before 30 November. All land is to be maintained up to and including 12 May.         

Please note: Asset Protection Zone (APZ) requirements apply to all properties (excluding vacant lots), regardless of size, and must be maintained all year round.


Property Type

Firebreak Requirements

Asset Protection Zone (APZ)

Grass slashed/mowed to less than 10cmDriveway/Access wayGutters and rooftops free of debris
All Lots 4000m2 and under
  • 2-metre wide firebreaks around all piles of garden refuse and/or wood stacks
 YesYesYesYes
Residential/ Rural Residential Lots 4001m2 and over
  • Minimum 3-metre wide trafficable firebreaks within 10 metres of all boundaries
  • 2-metre wide firebreaks around all piles of garden refuse/wood stacks, fuel and fodder
YesVacant/ cleared land that is not being actively grazedYesYes

Rural Lots (excluding plantations, vineyards, orchards and olive groves)

  • Minimum 3-metre wide trafficable firebreak required within 100 metres of a boundary that abuts a road reserve 
  • Where land is actively grazed or maintained to less than 10cm, a 2-metre firebreak is required 
  • 2-metre wide firebreaks around all piles of garden refuse/wood stacks, fuel and fodder
YesVacant/ cleared land that is not being actively grazedYesYes

Plantations

  • 10-metre wide mineral earth firebreak around each cell or block - minimum 3 metres must be trafficable 
  • 2-metre wide firebreaks around all piles of garden refuse/wood stacks, fuel and fodder
YesYesYesYes

Vineyards, Orchards and Olive Groves

  • 5-metre wide mineral earth firebreak around each cell or block - minimum 3 metres must be trafficable 
  • 2-metre wide firebreaks around all piles of garden refuse/wood stacks, fuel and fodder
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

Appointments and inspections

Owners and occupiers who would like an early inspection by appointment, for reasons including bio-security, locked gates, and dangerous animals, or for an explanation of the requirements of the Notice, should contact Rangers as soon as possible and by no later than 1 November.

Where inspections by appointment are not requested, Rangers are appointed as Bush Fire Control Officers with the power to enter land under the Bush Fires Act 1954 and will be inspecting properties for compliance without further notice from 1 December.

Can we access your property?

In order for fire appliances to access your property safely, firebreaks must be three (3) metres wide and have at least four (4) metres of vertical clearance. Fire appliances must be able to fit through gates on your property. The average fire appliance is nine (9) metres in length. 

Don’t fuel fires

  • Don’t have thick vegetation near your home
  • Clear all flammable material from around all structures
  • Store firewood, timber, petrol, kerosene and all flammable liquids well away from the house
  • Clear all dead leaves out of gutters regularly
  • Remove dead trees and branches that, when burning, could drop on your roof
  • Rake up leaves, twigs and dead material regularly
  • Burn off dry grass and vegetation at the approved times and in the approved manner or consider using alternative methods to burning.

Find out about the disposal of bulk green waste.

Variations

Where compliance with the Firebreak Notice is not practical due to environmental considerations and constraints, owners may apply to the Shire of Augusta Margaret River for a Variation to the Firebreak Notice

Variations must provide an alternative means of meeting the objectives of the Notice, including bushfire risk mitigation and property access, taking into account site-specific constraints and advantages and that not all properties will be able to accommodate variations.

Applications must be completed on the approved form, which is available upon request or can be downloaded via the Shire’s website. Applications submitted after 1 November will be required to pay a $150 fee, but Variations received before that date are processed free of charge.

To apply for a variation, please complete and submit the form below:

Important notes: 

  • Please ensure this application is submitted to the Shire of Augusta Margaret River no later than 16 November this year. All submissions must be made by the landowner or by a person authorised to act on their behalf.
  • The authorising officer has the right to grant, refuse, alter or add any conditions to an application.
  • Where an application is not approved by the Shire, the owner has fourteen (14) days in which to comply with the normal requirements of the Shire’s Firebreak Notice.

Compliance

People who do not comply with the Notice or a Variation to the Notice may be issued with an infringement Notice ($250) or prosecuted with a penalty up to $5,000. The Shire of Augusta Margaret River may carry out the required work on the land at a cost to the owner/occupier.

More information and contact

If you have any concerns regarding how the requirements may impact you, want to apply for a variation, or would like more information, please contact the Shire Rangers on (08) 9780 5695, or email [email protected]

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