What are Firebreaks?
"FIREBREAK" means a strip of land that has been cleared of all trees, bushes, grasses or flammable material leaving clear bare earth. This includes trimming any trees, bushes, shrubs or any other objects that over hangs a fire break area. Firebreaks not only help minimise the spread of fire but also allow access by emergency vehicles.
To be effective a firebreak must be a minimum of three (3) metres wide and must loop back to the point of entry with no dead ends.
Bush Fires Act Requirements
During the period from 16 November to 31 March each year, and within 14 days of becoming owner or occupier of a property, Section 33 of the Bush Fires Act 1954 requires property owners to:
Where the land is 2000 square metres or less - slash/mow all grass to a height no greater than five (5) centimetres and remove all slashed materials and other flammable matter from the land. This standard must be maintained until 31 March each year.
Where the land is greater than 2000 metres - slash/mow all grass to a height no greater than five (5) centimetres and remove all slashed materials and/or install a firebreak of three (3) metres wide, clear of all bush and flammable material along all external boundaries of the land. This standard must be maintained until 31 March each year.
You can organise the firebreaks yourself or appoint a firebreak contractor. Firebreak contractors can be found under Land Clearing and/or Firebreak Contractors in the Yellow Pages.
NOTE: Burning off is prohibited within the Town of Cambridge
If it's considered to be impracticable for any reason to clear firebreaks or to remove inflammable material from the land, property owners or occupiers, you can apply to the Council in writing by no later than 9 November, for permission to provide firebreaks in alternative positions or to take alternative measures to remove or abate the fire hazard.
What is the penalty for failing to install firebreaks?
Firebreaks are a legal requirement. Failure to install or maintain a firebreak carries a penalty of an on-the-spot fine of $250. Where an owner/occupier fails to install or maintain a firebreak the Town will install the required firebreaks and will recover the costs from the owner/occupier.
Fire Prevention Checklist
install a firebreak - clear vegetation / rubbish from the perimeter of home and fence boundaries;
relocate any move combustible material stored close to a house;
install and maintain smoke detectors;
clear dead leaves, etc from gutters;
check trees aren't overhanging powerlines. Seek advice from a professional contractor or Western Power on 13 13 51; and
prevent a build up of combustible material on property.
Contact us for further information about firebreaks or visit the DFES website.