Bushfires

Bushfire and grassfires are a part of the landscape. They are more likely and a higher risk during the warmer months. It is impossible to totally avoid them, however, as a community everyone can prepare to reduce the risk and impact of a fire. During this time it is important that everyone complies with the fire restrictions. 

Preparing Your Property

To prepare your property against fire, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce the fuel.

  • Maintain at least 30 metres of defendable space around your dwelling.
  • Keep lawn areas around your home well maintained to between 50mm and 100mm in length.
  • Maintain gardens.
  • Removing undergrowth, fallen branches and tree cuttings. 

For more information about how you can maintain your property visit the CFA website

Fire awareness and preparedness information is available from many sources including: 

 

Protecting your tank water during a bushfire

When bushfires threaten Gippsland, follow these steps to protect your water tank from contamination:

  • Be prepared to take action to divert water from the roof before it gets into the tank by having a plan for how you can go about disconnecting the tanks inflow pipe(s).
  • Consider installing and maintaining a first-flush diversion device. This is available from local hardware and plumbing suppliers.
  • If you are away, have someone organised to implement your tank water diversion plan.
  • Monitor how close the fire is, look for evidence of dust and smoke.
  • Leave the tank isolated as long as there is smoke etc in the air.
  • Wait for rain to wash your roof and flush the collection system.
  • Reconnect pipes or switch off diverter.

For more information on diverting your water tank, contact your local plumber or go the Better Health Channel website. 

What Does Council Do to Prevent Bushfire Risk?

Bushfire risk mitigation works

Fuel reduction

  • Routine mowing and fuel load reductions in parks and open spaces

Planned burns

  • Planned burns to reduce fuel loads are planned and managed by CFA with the authority of Council.

When bushfire strikes

In the event of a bushfire, Councils are there to support emergency services and assist in community relief and recovery as soon as it is safe to do so.

Gippsland Arson Prevention Program (GAPP)

The Gippsland Arson Prevention Program (GAPP) is a collaboration of government agencies and key industries from across Gippsland including: 

  • Victoria Police 
  • Country Fire Authority 
  • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning 
  • HVP Plantations 
  • Local Government 
  • VicRoads (RRV) 
  • Water Authorities  

Formed after the 2009 Gippsland bushfires, this multi-agency committee looks at ways to prevent arson occurring, as well as other forms of human source ignitions (unattended campfires etc.). 

Drawing on local knowledge and expertise on how to best handle local issues, GAPP through providing education to the public as well as media strategies aims to reduce the incidence and impact of bushfire arson across Gippsland. 

GAPP implements coordinated fire prevention patrols across private and public land and provides an education program via print, visual and social media to help deter and identify arson activity.

Fire Season Preparedness - Property Insurance Seminar

Baw Baw Shire Council partnering with Victoria Legal Aid and Country Fire Authority to help you to prepare for the bushfire season.

In the video below Victoria Legal Aid lawyers discuss the legal challenges a bushfire can cause and offer practical tips to help you to be prepared, including:

  • Ensuring insurance details are up-to-date and policies appropriate, to ensure claims are easily met.
  • Identifying documents like wills and deeds that need to be stored somewhere safe or digitised.
  • Tenancy and accommodation issues.
  • Managing debt and financial hardship.

The Country Fire Authority also provide an outline of the Fire Safety Outreach program, which provides advice and information to community members via telephone or email.

This free service allows community members and professionals to access information and fire safety education from CFA Community Education Officers.

Fire Hazard Inspection Program

Council's Fire Hazard Inspection program aims to reduce bushfire risk to the community, reduce fire spread and intensity in the event of a bushfire and fulfil relevant legislative obligations.

Click here for answers to common questions we receive from our residents.

In accordance with the Country Fire Authority Act 1958 (CFA Act) and the Fire Rescue Victoria Act 1958 (FRV Act) , Council has a duty to take all practicable steps to prevent fires and minimise the danger and spread of fires in the municipality (except for land owned by State authorities).

Council carries out annual inspections on privately owned and Council owned or maintained land during the declared Fire Danger Period. Where necessary, Council will issue a Fire Prevention Notice (FPN), directing landowners or occupiers to remove or clean up vegetation or other combustible materials.

Where landowners or occupiers fail to comply, Council can carry out the specified works at the cost of the landowner, issue an infringement notice and even prosecute for breaches under the CFA Act or FRV Act.

Council has adopted the Fire Hazard Risk Reduction Strategy that identifies the most at-risk land to communities within Baw Baw Shire. The data from Victorian Fire Risk Register (VFRR) has been used in the development of the strategy. Council conducts a Fire Hazard Inspection Program to manage the risk of fire to the community (including on private land) throughout the Fire Danger Period.

For more information on the VFRR, please visit the VFRR website.

Fire reduction works on land owned by State authorities (VicRoads, Department of Health, Education Department etc) and other agencies is responsibility of that respective agency. Council is unable to direct a state authority to remove a hazard or maintain property.