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Small Farms and Bushfire Webinar Summary

20 Oct 2021 1:02 PM | Alex James (Administrator)

This is a summary of a webinar recorded on the 7 October 2021 with Jason McWhirter the District Officer, Lake George Zone - NSW Rural Fire Service. In this webinar Jason shared his expertise in planning for and managing bushfire.

You can watch the webinar recording by following this link

These are the key points from the webinar:

  • Each region in NSW has a Bushfire Risk Management Plan. In the Bungendore region it is called the Lake George Bushfire Risk Management Plan (BFRMP). These plans are developed by a committee of local residents, agencies and the NSW Rural Fire Service. The BFRMP is a strategic document for each region that identifies community assets and sets out a five-year multi agency response to reduce the risk of bushfire impacting these assets. Community assets include human settlements, economic infrastructure, environmental and cultural assets. Once the asset assessment is completed treatments are prescribed to reduce the risk of bushfire. The treatments can include hazard reduction burning, grazing, community education, fire trail maintenance and establishing local Rural Fire Service (RFS) groups. 
  • The NSW Fire Service can assist land managers with the construction and management of Asset Protection Zones through the Hazard Reduction Certificate process, this includes approval for vegetation management, hazard reduction burning and clearing. Hazard management is done to reduce fuel loads that influence the rate and intensity of fire.
  • Every landholder should develop and Asset Protection Zones around their house in bushfire prone areas. The Asset Protection Zone allows you to manage vegetation to reduce the risk of bushfire impacting a house. Measures can include mowing, establishing lawn, clearing trees and shrubs away from the house and using non- flammable mulches. Jason explained the 10/50-meter rule that applies to private home owners in bushfire prone areas. The scheme allows people living in designated areas to clear trees within 10 meters of their home and clear underlying vegetation within 50 meters of their home without approval. More detailed information about this rule can be found in the link below.
  • Local RFS Community Engagement Officers can help you develop a vegetation management plan, offer advice on equipment and applying for a hazard reduction certificate. You can book a site visit with your local RFS Brigade or contact your local Fire Control Centre.
  • It’s a good idea to discuss your fire plan with your neighbours.
  • Embers can travel tens of kilometres ahead of the fire front and can stay alight for several days after the fire.
  • A Fire Permit is required from the 1st October -31st May and can be obtained from the NSW Rural Fire Service. Hazard Reduction Certificates are only required for native vegetation.
  • HOW FIRE PROOF IS YOUR PLAN? Bushfire Survival Plans are essential for every landholder. Jason’s advice is to think about what your trigger points are for action. This could include leaving early on catastrophic fire days or leaving when the fire gets within a certain radius. Jason said that it is a good idea to give everyone in the household a job (including young children). Include in your plan how you will manage livestock and think about access to feed and water for 3-7 days post fire.
  • Equipment and access – when property planning make sure you think about the size of your gate and driveway. Will a fire truck FIT? Plan 20,000 L water storage for bushfire fighting, a diesel pump, 38 mm firefighting canvas hose with STORZ fittings, a bucket and mop for putting out embers, P2 mask, cotton clothing, boots and hat. 
More information on getting ready for bushfire season can be found in the links below.

More information and links

Bushfire Risk Management Plans - NSW Fire Service

10/50 meter rule

Hazard Reduction Certificate and Standards

Bushfire Survival Plans 

RFS Farm Fire Plan

Livestock and bushfire resources 

NSW Department of Primary Industries 

South East Local Land Services 1300 795 299 

Vegetation Management

Victorian Country Fire Authority - Landscaping for bushfire 

Please note that this is a Victorian website, but it has relevant information for this topic.

Australian Network for Plant Conservation 2019/20 bushfire resources page

Fire retardant plants for ACT

This webinar was made possible with funding from the New South Wales Government through an Increasing Resilience to Climate Change (IRCC) Community Grant.


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