Fire Proofing your Property

The Shire of Gingin is one of Western Australia's areas which is unfortunately more prone to bush fires. It is common for the Shire to experience large scale bush fires which can destroy thousands of hectares in just a few days. 

Consequently, the Shire takes fire preventation very seriously and large scale mitigation works are undertaken every year across the Shire region to reduce the risk in the event of a bush fire. 

The Shire also requires that residents reduce their risk by fulfilling their legal requirements as per the Shire's Fire Break Orders (issued annually and applicable under the Bush Fires Act 1954) and when developing, some residents may be required to undertake a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment before development can commence. 

Asset Protection Zones

Creating and maintaining an Asset Protection Zone (APZ) is one of the most effective things you can do to reduce your risk in a bush fire. 

What is an APZ?

An APZ is a zone created between the bush and your property which will reduce the risk of your house and/or assets being damaged or destroyed by direct flame or the intense heat that is given off during a fire. 

Why do you need an APZ?

An APZ serves to reduce the likelihood of hot embers (that can be carried by the wind during a bush fire) from igniting items that can burn on or around your home and/or assets. Additionally a well maintained APZ can provide a safer and more accessible area for you and/or firefighters to defend your property. 

Maintaining your Garden

The guidelines set out in the following Fact Sheet have been developed by the WA State Government for property owners. They specify recommendations for the spacing and height of vegetation. Small variations in spacing and height will occur dependent upon the type of plants you have, your exposure to the wind and the slope of your property. Refer to the figures in the Fact Sheet for a visual guide.

Asset Protection Zone Fact Sheet

Bushfire Prone Zones

A ‘bushfire prone area’ is an area of land that has been designated by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services as an area that is likely to be subject to the attack of bushfires.

Bush Fire Prone Areas Map

All designated Bushfire Prone Areas which are viewable on the map linked above are coloured pink. If you are proposing development within a Bushfire Prone Area then you may be required to undertake a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment before development can commence.

A Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) measures the severity and potential risk of ember attack, radiant heat and direct flame contact to a building. After the BAL assessment the property is given a BAL rating which determines any requirements that may be required for construction under the Australian Standard AS 3959-2009 Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas, to increase the protection of the building against the threat of Bushfires.

Fuel Loading

Excessive fuel loads pose a direct threat to life and properties. Whilst fuel loading maintenance isn’t required under the Shire’s Fire Break Orders, it is still the responsibility of the owner and/or occupiers to manage fuel loading to reduce your bush fire risk as per the Bush Fires Act 1954. In most cases this means maintaining fuel loading in natural bush areas to 8 T/Ha (or less) and implementing an Asset Protection Zone (APZ) around habitable dwellings (the latter being required under the Shire’s Fire Break Orders).

Given the complicated nature of fuel loading, the Shire has prepared a handy fact sheet for community members to utilise which includes instructions on how to calculate your fuel load and other useful information. 

Fuel Loading Fact Sheet

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  • For more information on Asset Protection Zones and Fuel Loading, contact the Shire's Chief Bush Fire Control Officer (Phil Barratt) on 0408 943 576
  • For more information on Bush Fire Prone Zones, contact the Shire's Regulatory & Development Services Department on (08) 9575 5100, option 5.