Copy of Cover 2017 2018

Bushfire & Emergency Management

Fire Management Requirements (Fire Break Notice)

2020/2021 Fire Management Notice 

Protecting out community from bush fires is a shared responsibility, and we all need to work together to reduce the risk of bush fire. The Shire of Lake Grace issues a Fire Management Notice each year that contains the details of how land owners and occupiers must prepare their property for the fire season. 

Depending on the size of your property, you may need to install and maintain firebreaks and reduce the amount of flammable material that is on your land. 

All habitable buildings should also be surrounded by an Asset Protection Zone that will help your home from damage or destruction if a bush fire happens. 

The fire mitigation measures required by the Notice must be in place by 1 November 2020 and maintained until 30 April 2021 (inclusive). 

The Fire Management Notice is issued under section 33 of the Bush Fires Act 1954, and is a legal order issued by the Shire.

Plantation Management Requirements

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Guidelines for Plantation Fire Protection have been adopted by the Shire of Lake Grace as the standard required to be met by plantation owners in order to comply with the Shire's Fire Management Requirements.

These guidelines aim to provide a set of best practice fire protection standards for plantations that aim to protect human life and local community interests, while minimising fire risk to plantation assets.

Variation to Requirements

If you are not able to comply with the requirements listed in the Notice, you will need to apply for a Variation to Requirements by 15 October 2020.

Please return your completed form to the Shire:

Penalties may apply

The Fire Management Notice is issued under section 33 of the Bush Fire Act 1954, and non-compliance with the requirement of the Fire Management Notice may incur a $250 fine or a maximum penalty of $5,000. The Shire of Lake Grace, or a contractor engaged by the Shire, may enter your land to install the fire break or reduce fuel loads and you will be charged for expenses incurred.

 

Documents:

Guidelines-for-Plantation-Fire-Protection-2011-final

Guidelines-for-Plantation-Fire-Protection-2011-final.pdf | pdf | 3 MB | Last Changed: 20/07/2020 4:24pm

Variation-to-Fire-Management-Requirements-Application-Form

Variation-to-Fire-Management-Requirements-Application-Form.pdf | pdf | 687 KB | Last Changed: 20/07/2020 11:16am

Fire-Management-Notice-2020-Web

Fire-Management-Notice-2020-Web.pdf | pdf | 1.5 MB | Last Changed: 20/07/2020 10:05am

Prohibited and Restricted Burning Times

Prohibited Burning Times

Prohibited Burning Times are set by the Fire & Emergency Services (FES) Minister under Section 17 of the Bush Fires Act 1954 (the Act). During this period, you must not start a fire in the open air. 

The Prohibited Burning Season is now in place, brought forward from 1 November due to extremely dry local conditions.


From midnight on Wednesday 22 October it is illegal to light a fire in open air within the Shire. 

 

Dates for prohibited burning times may change depending on prevailing weather conditions, so please check this website regularly for any changes.

The penalty for a breach of s.17 of the Act is up to $10,000 or 12 months’ imprisonment or both.

Restricted Burning Times

Restricted Burning Times are set by the Fire & Emergency Services (FES) Commissioner under Section 18 of the Bush Fires Act 1954 (the Act). During the Restricted Burning Period you will need a permit to start a fire in the open air.

The Shire of Lake Grace Restricted Burning Times are 19 September 2020 to 31 October 2020, and 1 February 2021 to 30 April 2021.

Dates for prohibited and restricted burning times may change depending on prevailing weather conditions, so please check this website regularly for any changes.

The penalty for a breach of s.18 of the Act is up to $4,500 for a first offence and up to $10,000 for subsequent offences.

Permits to Burn

To apply for a permit, please contact the Fire Control Officer for your area, who will decide if it is safe for a fire to be lit and may issue you with a permit.

Permits are free, but you must make sure that you comply with all the conditions that are listed on the permit.

Please note that all permits are automatically cancelled on days when the fire danger rating for the district is forecast to be very high, extreme, or catastrophic.

You must also not light a fire, even if you have been issued with a permit, on a day where a Total Fire Ban has been declared, or if the Shire has declared that fires are not to be lit.

Permits to Burn Clover or Prohibited Plants

Permits to burn subterranean clover and prohibited plants can only be issued by authorised officers. Please contact the Shire on 9890 2500 for more information.

Burning Permits – Frequently Asked Questions

When do I need a Permit to Burn?

If you need to light a fire during the restricted burning times (19 September 2020 to 31 October 2020 and 1 February 2021 to 30 April 2021) you must obtain a permit to burn before you light the fire.

What if I burn off without a permit?

If you light a fire in the open air without a permit during the restricted burning times, you may face penalties of up to $4,500 for a first offence and $10,000 for a second or subsequent offence.

How do I get a Permit to Burn?

Contact the Fire Control Officer (FCO) for your district. Please remember that FCOs are volunteers and may not be available at short notice so make sure that you plan well ahead.

What does a Permit to Burn cost?

Burning permits are issued free of charge.

Do I need to do anything before I light my Permit Burn?

  • You must make sure that there is no danger of the fire escaping.
  • You must make sure that you have met all the conditions that are listed on the permit, which included advising your neighbours that you are planning to burn.
  • You must also check the fire danger rating for the district for the day you are planning to burn. If the forecast fire danger rating is very high or above, your permit is automatically suspended.
  • The Shire of Lake Grace may also issue an order to revoke all burning permits for a particular day, or order any fires already alight to be extinguished, so check the Shire’s website prior to burning.

Documents:

Shire-of-Lake-Grace-Fire-Control-Officers-2020-21

Shire-of-Lake-Grace-Fire-Control-Officers-2020-21.pdf | pdf | 420 KB | Last Changed: 20/07/2020 12:38pm

Fire Bans

Total Fire Bans

During a Total Fire Ban (TBF), the lighting of open-air fires or any other activity in the open air that is likely to cause a fire is banned. This includes all open-air cooking or camping fires, incinerators, welding, grinding, soldering or gas cutting.

A TFB may be declared by the Fire & Emergency Services Commissioner on a day when a fire is most likely to spread rapidly because of extreme fire weather or if there are already widespread fires and the resources to fight more fires are not available.

The use of equipment powered by internal combustion engines in any area where there is bush, crops, pasture or stubble is also prohibited. Farmers can still harvest their crop and feed or water stock in a paddock, unless a Harvest & Vehicle Movement Ban has been declared by the Shire of Lake Grace.

You CANNOT use any BBQ or cooker (including Weber BBQs) that requires solid fuel including:

  • Wood
  • Charcoal
  • Heat beads

You CAN use a gas or electric BBQ or cooker, if:

  • It’s a permanent BBQ in a public picnic area
  • You use it in a public space within the sign posted BBQ area
  • It’s at or in your home
  • It has an enclosed flame
  • You clear all material that could burn within a 5m radius around it. Short green grass less than 5cm in height and reticulated gardens are not considered to be flammable.

A TFB is declared the evening before the day it is to take effect. Check the Emergency WA website  after 6pm to see if a ban has been declared for the next day or call the TFB hotline on 1800 709 355.

For more information visit the Department of Fire & Emergency (DFES) website

Harvest and Vehicle Movement Bans                                          

The Shire of Lake Grace may impose a Harvest & Vehicle Movement Ban (HVMB) for its district, or areas within its district, during the prohibited or restricted burning times if a Bush Fire Control Officer decides (based on a set of predetermined weather conditions) that the use of any engines, vehicles, plant or machinery is likely to cause a or spread a bush fire.

When a HVMB is declared, all harvesting activities must stop immediately, and you are not allowed to drive a vehicle (with an internal combustion engine) across paddocks that are in crop or stubble or drive in the bush. This includes motor cycles and quad bikes. 

For information about current bans:

  • phone the Harvest & Vehicle Movement Ban Hotline on 9487 7191.
  • tune into ABC Radio.

The Shire may also send an SMS will be sent all registered SMS Alert users. Please contact the Shire of on 9890 2500 to join this service and receive an SMS to your phone when a HMVB is put in place. 

Please note that it is your responsibility to check if a HVMB is in place before undertaking any activity that may be subject to the Ban.

Activities Permitted During HVMB

Vehicles and equipment may be driven on gazetted roads and laneways, provided it has a trafficable surface, is at least 4 metres wide, cleared of all inflammable materials with overhanging vegetation pruned so as not to touch the vehicle.

You can still carry out the following agricultural activities during a HVMB, if you are accompanied by a mobile firefighting unit (carrying a minimum of 600 litres of water):

  • water carting for stock and domestic purposes;
  • travel to, from and within piggeries and feed lots;
  • all necessary carting of livestock; and
  • any other activity permitted by the local government.

Fire Zones (Harvest Ban Zones) - please click below to view maps:

Preparing Your Property

Asset Protection Zones

An asset protection zone (APZ) is an area surrounding a habitable building that is managed to reduce the bushfire hazard to an acceptable level, and generally consist of managed vegetation, reticulated lawns and gardens and other non-flammable features.

Houses should have an APZ of 20m (or to the boundary of the property where a 20m distance cannot be achieved). It is important to note that the 20m clearing may not be enough to provide adequate protection in all cases.

Fire travels more quickly uphill, so if your house is situated on a hill with vegetation growing on the slope below it, the APZ distance should increase at least 1 metre for every degree in slope on the side of the building facing the slope.

APZ Standards

  • Trees (> 5 metres in height): trunks at maturity should be a minimum distance of 6 metres from all buildings, branches should not touch or overhang the building, lower branches should be removed to a height of 2 metres above the ground or surface vegetation, canopy cover should be less than 15% at maturity be at least 5 metres apart so it does not form a continuous canopy.
  • Shrubs (0.5 metres to 5 metres in height) should not be located under trees or within 3 metres of buildings, should not be planted in clumps greater than 5m2 in area, clumps of shrubs should be separated from each other and any exposed window or door by at least 10 metres. Shrubs greater than 5 metres in height are to be treated as trees.
  • Ground covers (<0.5 metres in height) can be planted under trees but must be maintained to remove dead plant material and any parts within 2 metres of a structure, but 3 metres from windows or doors if greater than 100 millimetres in height.
  • Grass should be managed to maintain a height of 100 millimetres or less.
  • Fences within the APZ are constructed from non-combustible materials (e.g. iron, brick, limestone, metal post and wire). It is recommended that non-combustible perimeter fences are used.
  • Combustible Objects within 10 metres of a building must not be located close to windows and doors.
  • Fine fuel load is combustible dead vegetation matter less than 6 millimetres in thickness should be reduced to and maintained at an average of two tonnes per hectare.

For more information about APZs, visit the DFES Website

The Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA) has published a handy guide - Landscaping for Bushfire.

Low Fuel Loads

Fuel loads refers to the amount of flammable material available for a fire to burn and is measured by the amount of available fuel per meter. Reducing fuel around your property may help protect your home from bush fire.

The intensity (heat) and rate of spread of bushfire is influenced by the amount of fuel (vegetation) available to burn. If the amount of fuel around your property is reduced, a bushfire will burn more slowly and generate less intense heat. This will reduce the impact of the bushfire on life and property and assist fire managers in suppressing the bushfire.

Fuel loads should be maintained at or below 8 tonnes per hectare. This is equal to 8 handfuls of flammable material per square metre.

Low fuel loads can be achieved by the following measures;

  • slashing vegetation on the whole block to a height not exceeding 50mm; or
  • conducting parkland clearing, which is the removal of vegetation to a maximum height of 50mm but leaving trees in place; or
  • carrying out hazard reduction burning.

Perimeter Fire Breaks

Perimeter fire breaks are required on properties larger than 4,000m2.

  • Fire breaks must be 3 metres wide with 4 metres vertical clearance.
  • The land must be ploughed, cultivated, scarified, chemically sprayed, slashed or otherwise cleared to a maximum vegetation height of 50mm.
  • Any overhanging branches, trees, shrubs must be cleared to a vertical height of 4m over the designated fire break.
  • A perimeter fire break should be constructed as close as possible to the property boundary and must be placed within 20 metres of the property boundary.

For more information about constructing and maintaining your fire breaks download the DFES Guide to Constructing and Maintaining Fire Breaks.

Power Outages During Bushfires

During the bushfire season, Western Power may modify the network settings to make them more sensitive, reducing  the likelihood of power lines starting a bushfire, but resulting in more frequent outages. Those outages may last longer if a total fire ban or vehicle movement ban is in place that will delay Western Power from carrying out work until it is deemed safe to do so. 

Community members can take steps to prepare for a power outage including maintaining an emergency electricity and water supply, learning how to open automatic garage doors or gates without power and keeping a torch and spare batteries handy.

Outages and restoration times can be monitored by visiting westernpower.com.au . For information about outages, or to report a fault call Western Power on 13 13 51

 

Emergency Management

The aim of the Shire of Lake Grace Local Emergency management Arrangements is to detail local emergency management arrangements within the Shire of Lake Grace. 

Click HERE to view the document.

These arrangement are to ensure there are suitable plans to deal with the identified emergencies should they arise. It is not the intent of this document to detail the procedures for HMAs in dealing with an emergency. 

Reptiles in and around the house

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions would like to inform you that the snake and reptile season has approached and now that the weather is warming up our slithering reptiles become mobile.

The information attached contains precautionary steps for your safety when encountering reptiles and suggestions to avoid them residing in your back yard and surrounds.