Fire Management FAQs
Receiving a Fire Prevention Notice
Council’s Municipal Fire Prevention Officers assess properties for fire hazards in the lead up to the summer Fire Danger Period and determine if you need to reduce fuel loads on your property to reduce the potential fire risk.
You are required to clean up fine fuels such as leaves, twigs and long grass to reduce the risk to your property from fire as per the notice. The works must be carried out by the completion date. You must maintain your property in this state for the duration of the Fire Danger Period. You are required to do the works detailed on the notice. The notice does not authorise you to remove shrubs and trees. If you wish to remove trees and shrubs, contact Council’s Planning Department for advice.
There is a small delay between the fire hazard inspection program and the issuing of Fire Prevention Notices. If you have already carried out what is required on the notice, then you don’t need to worry. Just ensure you maintain your property in this state for the duration of the Fire Danger Period.
Issuing Fire Prevention Notices
Under the Country Fire Authority Act 1958, Council has a legal obligation to ensure the community’s risk associated with bushfire is reduced. Municipal Fire Prevention Officers have the powers of inspection and to issue Fire Prevention Notices. Council also has the legal right to do anything to remove a fire hazard on private land and recoup the costs.
Compling with the notice
Follow up inspections are carried out on properties that have received a Fire Prevention Notice. If the works required have not been carried out to the satisfaction of the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer by the due date, a contractor will be engaged to carry out the works and the costs will be passed on to you with additional administration fees. You may also receive a fine. Council will not contact you prior to undertaking works once the Fire Prevention Notice has been issued.
Fire Danger Period
The Country Fire Authority introduces Fire Restrictions (Fire Danger Period) for all private land in Baw Baw Shire over the summer period each year. During this period residents are required to obtain a permit to burn in the open air. Start and end dates vary from year-to-year and once declared can be found on the CFA website.
Disagreeing with the assessment
Contact the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer to discuss your particular situation before the completion date on your notice.
Completing works by the notice deadline
Give the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer a call to discuss your particular situation. In most cases an additional week may be considered but we must hear from you before the completion date on your notice.
Fire Prevention Infringement Notice
Follow up inspections are carried out on properties that have received a Fire Prevention Notice. If the works required have not been carried out in accordance with the Fire Prevention Notice by the due date, a contractor will be engaged to carry out the works and the costs will be passed on to the property owner with an additional administration fee. Council will not contact the property owner prior to undertaking works.
Property owners may also receive a Fire Prevention Infringement Notice. If you have been issued an Infringement Notice you may elect to do one of the following:
- Pay the infringement; or
- Request an Internal Review of the Fire Prevention Infringement Notice; or
- Have the matter referred directly to Court for consideration. This must be requested by contacting Council in writing.
Applications for an infringement review must be in writing and only one review request per offence is allowed. The application must be made and received by Council before the due date of the infringement. You are required to provide a copy of your original infringement notice with your application documentation.
If you have received an Fire Prevention Infringement Notice which you believe to be unfair or unjust due to extenuating circumstances and wish to have the infringement reviewed, download the Internal Review of a Fire Prevention Infringement Notice Application Form by clicking on the link below.
Internal Review of a Fire Prevention Infringement Notice Application Form(PDF, 660KB)
On review of the application the following decisions may be made:
- Uphold the original decision, infringement confirmed (and must be paid by the due date); or
- Request for further information from the applicant; or
- Withdrawal of the infringement with an issue of an Official Warning (you may still have to pay the administration and contractor fees); or
- Withdrawal of the infringement and all costs.
Roadside fire hazards
Council's fire hazard inspection program focuses on protecting your house and outbuildings by providing a fuel reduced area around these assets as per CFA guidelines. You must have permission from Council before removing native vegetation from a roadside.
Within townships, Council cuts roadsides in the lead up to the fire season. In rural areas, sealed roads get a single cut to the white posts. Gravel roads are not cut. The Country Fire Authority conducts roadside fuel reduction burning in strategic areas to create fuel reduced zones to help control wildfires.
Cutting paddocks for hay or putting stock on a paddock
If it is your intent to cut your paddock for hay or carry out other works, just give the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer a call and inform us of your intentions before the completion date on your notice.
If it is your intent to put stock on your paddock, just give the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer a call and inform us of your intentions before the completion date on your notice.
Please let us know if there is a property of concern to you. We will inspect the property and provide the owner with a Fire Prevention Notice if required.
Council's fire hazard inspection program is focused on reducing fuel loads immediately around your assets (house and outbuildings). If the fire hazard you are concerned about on a neighbouring property falls outside this area, it is unlikely a Fire Prevention Notice will be issued.
Snakes and long grass
Snakes in the country are a fact of life. Ensure you maintain a safe area around your house and outbuildings. Snakes are attracted to the places we live as they provide shelter and food such as frogs and mice that are also attracted to our homes.
Try to remove attractions for snakes from your property such as wood piles, stock feed and hay and maintain open areas where children play away from long grass. There is nothing we can do about the snakes as they are protected species. However, we will inspect the property and if the long grass poses a fire hazard, we will issue the owner with a Fire Prevention Notice directing them to cut the grass as appropriate.
Cutting native grasses
Native grasses generate about 10 per cent of the fuel load of introduced pasture grasses such as Phalaris and Wild Oats. This is why we encourage the retention and regeneration of native grasses. This can only be achieved if we allow them time to re-seed. Not doing so encourages introduced grasses which create a much greater fire risk.
Crown Land/Parks land surrounding properties
Council is not empowered to issue Fire Prevention Notices to State Government agencies. It is suggested you contact the Department of Environment and Primary Industries on 13 61 86 and inform them of your concerns.