Bush Fire Risk Management
On 1 August 2002, the Rural Fires and Environmental Assessment Legislation Amendment Act 2002 (Amendment Act) came into effect. The Act amends both the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and the Rural Fires Act 1997 to ensure that people, property and the environment are more fully protected against the dangers that may arise from bush fires.
The Amendment Act requires councils to map bush fire prone land within their local government area, which becomes the basis for planning for bush fire protection. The Pittwater Bush Fire Prone Land Map has been prepared in accordance with the NSW Rural Fire Services Guidelines for Bush Fire Prone Land Mapping (June 2006) as required by the Amendment Act.
In accordance with Section 146 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, the Pittwater Bush Fire Prone Land Map will be reviewed by Council in consultation with the Rural Fire Service every five years. To confirm if your property is bush fire prone you may apply for a Section 149 Certificate.
The current Bush Fire Prone Land Map has been prepared in accordance with guidelines by the NSW Rural Fire Service. Along with other NSW councils, Council is required to produce an up-to-date map of bush fire prone land under state government law and have it certified by the commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service.
What is Bush Fire Prone Land?
Bush fire prone land is land that can support a bushfire or is likely to be subject to bushfire attack. Research has shown that 85% of houses that are lost in bush fires are within 100m from bushland and that ember attack is a significant form of attack on properties.
How to read the Pittwater Bush Fire Prone Land Map
A property is deemed to be bush fire prone land if it is wholly or partly located in the red, orange or yellow area on the Pittwater 2013 Bush Fire Prone Land Map.
Building on Bush Fire Prone Land
Since August 2002, legal standards have been in place for the safe construction of buildings in bush fire prone areas in NSW. These standards are set out in the Planning for Bushfire Protection Guidelines 2006 and must be addressed in the preparation of a development application for land identified on the Pittwater Bush Fire Prone Land Map.
These standards include:
- adequate setbacks from bushland
- inclusion of reduced fuel areas (Asset Protection Zones)
- correct siting
- good access roads for firefighters and residents.
Well planned developments in bush fire prone areas make homes and families safer from bushfires.
Bush fire protection standards must be included in development applications submitted to Councils for existing or proposed development in bush fire prone areas. Development applications are assessed together with the Warringah Pittwater District Rural Fire Service so that people, property and the environment are better protected against the dangers of bushfire.
All development on bush fire prone land will require a Bush Fire Risk Assessment and certification prepared by a suitably qualified consultant. A Bush Fire Risk Assessment and certification is required irrespective of whether the Bush Fire Prone Land map fully or partially covers the subject property.
State Environment Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the Codes SEPP)
As of 25 February 2011, land identified as being bush fire prone is no longer excluded from the Codes SEPP. Instead, specified development requirements and development standards have been added to the General Housing Code and the Rural Housing Code that apply to new SEPP development undertaken on low risk bush fire prone land.
The development standards have been designed to ensure that complying development is not allowed on higher risk bush fire prone land (i.e. BAL-40 or Flame Zone). Complying development on bush fire prone land will require a Bush Fire Affected Level (BAL) certificate (under the Planning for Bush Fire Protection Guidelines 2006) prepared by a suitably qualified consultant.
For more information refer to:
- Fact Sheet 10 - complying development of bush fire prone land
- State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008
Subdivision or Integrated Development on Bush Fire Prone Land
A development application for a 'Subdivision' or 'Integrated Development' (as defined under Section 100B of the Rural Fires Act, e.g. a school, child care centre, group home, hospital, tourist or visitor accommodation, retirement village, seniors housing) requires an accompanying Bush Fire Risk Assessment prepared by a suitably qualified consultant and Bush Fire Safety Authority (BFSA) Report from the NSW Rural Fire Service.
Updated: 18 Jul 2016