Fire Hazard Inspection Program FAQs

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.

We've gathered the answers to our frequently asked questions in one place to keep the community informed. 

The Fire Danger Period for Baw Baw Shire has been declared (effective Monday 18 December 2023) and restrictions are now in place. 

Click here to find out more about what you can and can't do(PDF, 2MB) during the Fire Danger Period.

For more information about local municipality(PDF, 801KB) restrictions during the Fire Danger Period please visit the CFA website.

If you have a question that's not listed below, please get in touch with our Emergency Management team on 5624 2411 or via email.

How long can my grass be before it is considered a hazard?

During the declared summer period any property assessed to be, or may become, a potential fire risk by the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer can be directed to remove or modify vegetation to maintain a height of 100mm (10cm). It is recommended that you visit your property regularly to ensure that it is being maintained.

If a contractor is being used, it is best practice to ensure before and after photos are sent to you. 

Special considerations are often made to ensure safety to our community and businesses are not unnecessarily affected or compromised.

Outside of the summer period there are also provisions under the Community Local Law 2016 that vegetation is to be no more than 300mm (30cm) in height for amenity purposes.

I have received a Fire Prevention Notice but want to close my paddock for hay. Why have I received a notice?

Other than the declaration of the Fire Danger Period by the CFA, the timing of Council's fire hazard inspection program is reliant on the grassland curing rate (this is the rate at which grass dries and becomes a hazard) of the municipality. Once the curing rate has reached between 50-60%, longer grass starts to become an issue and will bring on the beginning of the inspection program and Council will inspect the residential areas of the townships.

To reduce the effects of the program on primary producers, only land that surrounds townships is proactively inspected. This is the last area to be inspected, to try and balance out the safety of the community, whilst allowing primary producers to cut their hay before it is too unsafe to do so. 

Unless there is a significant risk, primary producers are only requested to cut a fire break where their property abuts residential properties, which impacts their defendable space. 

If you have received a Fire Prevention Notice, it is because the length of your grass poses a risk to the surrounding properties. 

If you intend to cut your grass for hay and have received a fire prevention notice, you should contact the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer on 1300 229 229.

I submitted a request for some long grass to be inspected. Nothing has happened yet, when can I expect the grass to be cut?

When our customer service team receive a request or complaint regarding a fire hazard, the customer is advised that their complaint will be inspected. They are also advised that due to privacy of the property owner, they will not be advised of the outcome. 

When inspected by the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer and it is identified that in their opinion that there is a fire risk present, a Fire Prevention Notice will be issued to the property owner. The standard required date of compliance to a Fire Prevention Notice is 21 days from the date of issue. However, extensions of up to one week can be issued to a Fire Prevention Notice where reasonable circumstances apply.

In some cases, five weeks can pass before you notice any works on a property if it is deemed a hazard by Council's Municipal Fire Prevention Officer.

There is long grass near my house and I am concerned about snakes. I'd like Council to contact the owner to have it cut.

The Municipal Fire Prevention Officer cannot give consideration to the presence of snakes, or issues of amenity when determining if the property is a fire hazard.

You should contact a registered snake handler if you have any concerns regarding the presence of snakes.

I received a fire prevention notice at the beginning of the Fire Danger Period. The grass was cut on this property. Why have I now received another notice to comply?

Council will not issue a landowner with a second Fire Prevention Notice in the same season as the initial notice remains in force. If you have received a second notice, it may be Notice To Comply which is issued for amenity purposes. If you do receive a second notice, you should contact Council to speak to either the Community Compliance or Emergency Management teams.

I've received a fire prevention notice and require some additional time to complete works as the contractor cannot attend until after the required compliance date. Can I organise an extension?

All applications for an extension of time will be considered when reasonable circumstances apply.

An application for an extension can be made in writing to the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer but must be made before the compliance date.

All extensions of time will be for no longer than one week past the compliance date.

Why have I received a Fire Prevention Notice, when the grass on Council roadsides is just as long or even longer?

Council slashes more than 1,700 kilometres of roads twice a year, with the first cut taking place between September and December and the second cut between January and April.

Council can slash to a distance of 1.5 metres past the guide post or 3 metres from the edge of the bitumen where there is no guide post. Council cannot remove native vegetation in the road reserve from this distance through to property boundaries due to potential biodiversity value and several other restrictions under the Wildlife Act 1980, Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1980 and Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Acts 1999.

If you have received a Fire Prevention Notice, it is because your property has been deemed a fire hazard by the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer.