Fire Breaks, Bans & Information

Bush fires and asset/property fires can be deadly. Are you bush fire ready? Do you know:

  • How to manage your property by keeping your fuel loads low?
  • What your Fire Break Orders are and how to adhere to them as a responsible property owner?
  • What types of fire bans there are and the differences between each? 

Fire Break Orders

Every rate payer in the Shire of Gingin will be issued a set of Fire Break Orders annually. They are posted out in approximately August and rate payers are advised to place your Fire Break Orders in a safe location where you can easily refer to them. New residents who move to the Shire during the year will be sent a set of Fire Break Orders in a welcome pack from the Shire if they move to the Shire area after the orders have been issued for the year. 

Your Fire Break Orders provide you with a significant amount of important information including: 

  • Your legal requirements for what you are required to undertake annually to make sure your property fuel loading is effectively managed
  • The proper way to install fire breaks (what is compliant and what is not compliant)
  • Applying for a fire break variation
  • What times of year you can burn and what times of year you can't or you require a fire permit
  • How to apply for a fire permit
  • A list of local Fire Control Officers that you can contact for a fire permit
  • The burning of garden waste
  • Protecting your assets by making sure to install an effective Asset Protection Zone (click here for further information on this)

If you have misplaced your Fire Break Orders you can collect another set from the Shire's Administration Office in Gingin or our Lancelin Office. Alternatively you can download a copy below.

Fire Break Orders

Fire Bans & their Differences

We’ve all heard that there are different types of fire bans but do you know the difference?

Under the Bush Fires Act 1954 local governments and DFES have the power to place a fire ban. In the Shire of Gingin there are 2 x types of bans that you will hear about most commonly which are:

  • Total Fire Ban
  • Harvest, Hot Works & Vehicle Movement Ban

Total Fire Bans are set by the Department of Fire & Emergency Services. Generally they will set this ban the day before it is due to commence and it will usually be put in place from midnight that night until midnight the following night.

Harvest, Hot Works & Vehicle Movement Bans are set by the Shire of Gingin. The Shire will impose this type of ban when the predicted weather conditions (as classified by the Bureau of Meteorology) are rated Very High, Severe, Extreme or Catastrophic

BOTH BANS:

  • Prohibit open fires for the purpose of cooking, camping or outdoor entertainment including fire pits and bonfires.
  • Prohibit the undertaking of hot work such as metal work, grinding, welding and gas cutting in the open air except for business and industry if regulatory conditions are met.
  • Prohibit the undertaking of off-road activity using a four-wheel drive, quad bike, motorcycle, bobcat or similar vehicle, except for agricultural purposes or by business and industry if regulatory conditions are met.
  • Can be placed at any time of year.

The main difference between the 2 types of bans is that the Harvest, Hot Works & Vehicle Movement Ban also prohibits the use of harvest vehicles for harvesting operations which is not prohibited if there is only a Total Fire Ban in place.

It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to find out if there is a ban of either kind in place. Subscribe to the Shire’s SMS service to receive free notifications when either type of ban is placed.

Either one or both of these bans may be active at the same time.

A fire ban will generally be enacted during the hotter months of the year (usually the Prohibited or Restricted Burning Periods) but if the Fire Danger Rating (FDR) is high enough during the Unrestricted Burning Period (June - September) then a ban can also be placed during that period if deemed necessary by the Shire or DFES. 

Harvest, Hot Works & Vehicle Movement Ban (Shire of Gingin)

A Harvest, Hot Works & Vehicle Movement Ban is a ban enacted by the Shire of Gingin based upon the advice of the Chief Bush Fire Control Officer and local Fire Control Officers. 

This ban is a ban on harvesting and the movement of vehicles in paddocks (except for the watering of stock) and it may be imposed when the predicted weather conditions (as classified by the Bureau of Meteorology) are rated Very High, Severe, Extreme or Catastrophic on the FDR scale.

Activities NOT PERMITTED during the Ban: 

  • Harvesting operations are not permitted.
  • Any hot works (e.g. welding, grinding, cutting, heating, etc.) in the open air are not permitted. Note - these activities are not permitted during the term of a Total Fire Ban (enacted by DFES) either.
  • Other such as the use or operation of any engine, vehicle, plant, equipment or machinery in the area likely to cause a bush fire or contribute to the spread of a bush fire. This includes motorbikes and 4WD vehicles in bush reserves, etc. Note - these activities are not permitted during the term of a Total Fire Ban (enacted by DFES) either.

Activities PERMITTED during the Ban:

  • Movement of vehicles on gazetted roads (as described in 24A(1) of the Bush Fires Regulations 1954 and section 5.1 of the Road Traffic Act 1974).
  • Movement of vehicles on a lane, driveway, yard or other area that provides access to, or a parking facility at, any residential, farming or business premises, if the area has been sufficiently cleared of flammable material to prevent the escape of fire.
  • Use or operation of a vehicle if it is for the prevention of an immediate and serious risk to the health or safety of a person or livestock, and only if all reasonable precautions have been taken to prevent the activity from creating a bush fire danger.
  • Use or operations of vehicles and undertaking of hot works by those persons holding a current Exemption under Bush Fires Act 1954 s. 22C (Exemption from Total Fire Bans).
  • Gas powered BBQ’s are permitted to be used but solid fuel fires including webbers and wood fire pizza ovens are not permitted unless they are located in an enclosed area.

If further clarification is required about permitted and non-permitted activities during a ban, then queries may be directed to the Chief Bush Fire Control Officer on 0408 943 576

Exemption Form

If you would like to apply for a Harvest/How Works/Vehicle Movement Ban exemption please complete an application form.

Total Fire Ban (DFES)

A Total Fire Ban can only be declared by DFES and it is usually declared the day before it will be placed. Often this ban will be placed for a period of 24 hours from midnight through to midnight. 

Usually this type of ban is declared because of extreme weather conditions or when widespread fires across the south of WA are seriously stretching firefighting resources. 

Activities NOT PERMITTED during the Ban period:

For a list of non-permitted activities during a Total Fire Ban and further information, please visit:

DFES - Total Fire Bans information

Notification of the Placement of a Ban

There are several ways to find out if a Harvest/Hot Works/Vehicle Movement Ban or a Total Fire Ban has been placed within the Shire of Gingin. Generally the Shire tries to provide notice the day before if they will be placing a ban or if they have observed that DFES intends to place a ban. This will be communicated via:

Note - it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to find out if a ban has been placed prior to undertaking any activities or works that may be in violation of a ban. Whilst the Shire does it's best to provide due notice, the responsibility remains with you: the individual. 

Road Verge Slashing - who is responsible? 

In terms of the slashing of road side verges and who's responsibility it is, the Shire of Gingin can clarify the following: 

  • Residents are not liable for their own verges and will not be prosecuted if the verge isn’t maintained.
  • For safety reasons the Shire will slash one mower row width from the edge of the road seal as a minimum and may slash to the fence line if time and resources permit and if practical.
  • Residents are encouraged to mow/slash/maintain their verges for added fire safety (but do so at own risk, e.g. it is important to wear personal protective equipment and be traffic aware, etc. while undertaking any work)
  • The only liability to a landowner is if you do not install and maintain your fire breaks in accordance with the Shire’s Fire Break Orders (see above).

The Shire is under no obligation to slash any verges within its district and it is not possible to do to the fence line for over 923km of roads throughout the district. However, for ease of line of sight and other safety reasons, the Shire will undertake as much verge side slashing as it is capable of doing annually prior to the commencement of the fire season. The Shire may also vary where it does slash annually dependent upon the fuel load levels within the verge. It should further be noted that: 

  • Roads act as 7m wide fire breaks. With the addition of 1m slashing either side of the road, this then becomes 9m. 
  • Vegetation in verges is also important for providing shelter for local wildlife and to create windbreaks which protects against wind erosion. 

For any queries in relation to your obligations (or the Shire's) please contact the Chief Bush Fire Control Officer on 0408 943 576

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Enquiries

Contact the Shire's Community Emergency Services Manager/Chief Bush Fire Control Officer, Phil Barrett, on 0408 943 576 during office hours.