Bushfire Prevention and Planning

Fire Ban Districts

The Murrindindi Shire falls within the North Central Fire Ban District.

Total Fire Bans are declared by the CFA on days when fires are likely to spread rapidly and be difficult to control. Victoria is divided into nine fire ban districts.

For local information from the CFA, click here and enter your address, suburb or postcode. 

Bushfire planning on your property

Every landowner has a responsibility to ensure they take necessary steps in reducing the risk of bushfire on their property and to reduce the risk of injury or damage to other persons or property.

The Murrindindi Planning Scheme provides for bushfire regulation in the municipality, along with a range of local and state legislation. Property owners should be aware of their requirements under the law. Visit the Vegetation Management  page on the website for information and advice on creating defendable space on your property.

If you believe that trees or vegetation should be removed from Council-owned land, please complete and submit a customer request form or contact Council on (03) 5772 0333.

Bushfire Management Overlay

The Bushfire Management Overlay identifies areas where bushfire hazard warrants bushfire protection measures to be implemented. The purpose of the overlay is to ensure that development of land prioritises the protection of human life and strengthens community resilience to bushfire. To find out if your property is in a Bushfire Management Overlay, visit VicPlan, the state-wide mapping service.

For further information visit our Zones and Overlays page.

Property Inspections and Fire Prevention Notices

Prior to the summer fire danger period, Municipal Fire Prevention Officers conduct inspections of properties throughout the Shire. Owners of properties, where Fire Prevention works are required, will be contacted by letter seeking their co-operation in ensuring that their property does not present a fire hazard to adjoining properties.  Additional compliance processes are available to Council if required.

For the duration of the CFA Declared Fire Danger Period, grass must be managed in the following manner:

  • Residential area - Cut and remove all grass and weeds to a height of 75 mm or less above the natural surface of the ground using manual or mechanical equipment.
  • Non-residential area: Cut a 10 metre fire break around the property boundaries by slashing or otherwise, to a height of 75mm or less above the natural surface of the ground.

Those not complying with the above conditions will be issued with a Fire Prevention Notice. Failure to comply with a Fire Prevention Notice will result in fines exceeding $1800.

To report a property as a potential fire hazard, please do so by completing our customer request form.

Burning Off

Residents and rate payers are allowed to burn off at specified times of the year and under certain conditions. The Country Fire Authority (CFA) has responsibility for deciding when the declared Fire Danger Period (FDP) starts and finishes. During the FDP it is unlikely any burning off can occur. Council do not issue permits to burn off during the FDP. 

Council has simplified its burning-off laws to make it easier for residents to maintain their properties in preparation for the summer fire season. Residents may now burn off at any time (excluding the Fire Danger Period) without requiring a permit, providing they meet the following conditions:

  • you must have adequate means available at all times to prevent the escape of fire and to extinguish the fire
  • the burn area must be cleared of flammable material for a minimum radius of 3 m
  • the fire must be extinguished if you are directed to do so by an authorised officer
  • you must ensure all ashes are spread and thoroughly extinguished at the completion of the burn
  • the smoke must not cause a nuisance
  • the burn pile must not include damp or green materials. The materials to be burned must be suitably dry (cured)
  • the fire must be adequately supervised, with an adult person present at all times

Additionally, if your land is less than one hectare, the burn pile must not exceed 1 m  x 1 m.

If your land is more than one hectare:

  • the burn pile must be no more than 20 cubic meters
  • the fire must not be lit if wind speed exceeds 15 kph
  • the burn pile must not be located closer than 5 m to the property boundary or 5 m to any building

Any fire that does not meet these conditions will require a permit from Council. Please ensure you register all burns with the CFA by contacting 1800 668 511 before lighting your fire. 

The CFA decision regarding the FDP impacts on when you can or can’t burn off. Click here for more information on the FDP and to view the latest restrictions in force. 

For any enquiries relating to fire prevention, please call Council on (03) 5772 0333.

Planning and preparing for fire

Did you know that Victoria is one of the most fire-prone regions in the world? It is important for all Victorians to understand the risk of fire and how we can best prepare for the fire season.

The CFA has various amounts of information, checklists, templates and flyers on their website to help you better plan for fire in and around your home. These can be viewed at the CFA website.

The Victorian Government has launched the 'How well do you know fire?' campaign to help Victorian's better understand fire risk and plan and prepare for fire.  

Emergency information for residents

Council in collaboration with the CFA has prepared the an emergency information flyer regarding fire safety. It is designed for people new to our shire that may not be aware of local fire conditions or information, or for anyone wanting a 'one-stop-shop' for information regarding bushfire. The flyer is designed to be used either electronically (by clicking on the links contained within the document) or can be printed out in hard copy.

The flyer includes key emergency contacts, information on how to better prepare your household for bushfire and other key pieces of information regarding fire safety.  The flyer is also useful for those building new homes in the shire as it clearly explains vegetation exemptions and bushfire attack levels that apply within Murrindindi Shire. Lastly the flyer also lists the location of ‘Neighbourhood Safer Places: Bushfire Places of Last Resort' and which towns have specific fire plans (known as Community Information Guides).

Download Emergency Information Flyer(PDF, 147KB)

Bushfire planning by Council

Council is responsible for the preparation of a Municipal Fire Management Plan (MFMP), which identifies actions and responsibilities for various agencies, including Council, in the management of fire risk within the Shire.

Click here(PDF, 3MB) to view the Municipal Fire Management Plan 2020-2023.

The preparation of the Plan is overseen by the Municipal Fire Management Planning Committee, which is made up of representatives from key agencies responsible for fire management within the Shire, including the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and the Department of Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).

While the Plan largely emphasised the threat posed from bushfire, it also considers structural fires and hazardous material threats.

The Plan also outlines actions for Council, including the slashing of key roadsides and other areas to assist in mitigating the risks associated with bushfire and grass fires.  VicRoads also assists by undertaking similar slashing works on all highways throughout the Shire.

Council’s Municipal Fire Prevention Officers also inspect residential properties across the Shire throughout the fire season and issue Fire Prevention Notices to residents where fuel reduction works such as mowing and spraying are required.

DELWP are responsible for bushfire mitigation works on public land within the Shire.

For more information about Council’s Fire Prevention activities, please read the Frequently Asked Questions below. If you have any other fire related questions, please contact Council's Community Safety team at 5772 0333.

What is Council's Fire Prevention Slashing Program?

Council’s Fire Prevention Slashing Program is aimed at improving safety for road users and protecting property and public infrastructure. The program includes Council-managed reserves and roads.

The Fire Prevention Slashing program is carried out in the lead up to summer by contractors. The program usually commences in Spring, depending on weather conditions, and is completed by Christmas, typically starting in the drier north of the municipality and proceeding to the southern parts of the Shire.

The program aims to balance the need for cutting with grass curing so that the area is only cut once, rather than multiple times – this process significantly reduces the cost to Council and the community. We try to hold off as late as possible in the season before slashing, without compromising community safety.

Residents might see long grass that concerns them over Spring – please be reminded that we have set out to slash all Council-managed roadsides and reserves before Christmas and before the dryer parts of summer commence.    

Within township areas, roadsides and reserves are generally cut fence to fence in all places a tractor and slasher can reasonably and safely access.

Outside township areas, roadsides are cut as per the strategic fire breaks shown in the Municipal Fire Management Plan(PDF, 3MB). Some roads with ‘higher strategic fire control value’ are cut fence to fence, however the bulk of roadsides on sealed roads are cut two metres from the road edge. Gravel roadsides are generally not cut unless they have a particular role in fire prevention around townships. 

When does Council's Fire Prevention Slashing Program commence?

Our Fire Prevention Slashing Program has commenced. Our contractors have started slashing in the north of the Shire and will make their way to southern parts of the Shire towards the end of December.

To view our slashing schedule please click HERE(PDF, 66KB)

 

Which roadsides and reserves get cut?

Council carries out around 500 km of roadside slashing before the fire season.

Within township areas, roadsides and reserves are generally cut fence to fence in all places a tractor and slasher can reasonably and safely access.

Outside township areas, roadsides are cut as per the strategic fire breaks shown in the Municipal Fire Management Plan 2020-2023(PDF, 3MB). Some roads with higher strategic fire control value are cut fence to fence, while the bulk of sealed roads get cut for 2 metres from the road edge.

Gravel roads are generally not cut. However, some specific gravel roads are cut as they have a particular role in fire prevention around townships.

Why hasn't my road been cut?

Council carries out around 500 km of roadside slashing before the fire season. Your roadside may not have been cut because it is not one of the roadsides due to be cut or the contractor simply has not reached your area yet.

To view the slashing schedule please click HERE(PDF, 66KB).

VicRoads undertakes slashing works on all highways across the Shire.

Why were areas of grass on my roadside missed?

The contractor is required to address long grass in all places a tractor and slasher can reasonably and safely access. The patches missed may simply be too rough or difficult to access safely. Small patches of uncut grass look untidy but they do not usually present a major fire hazard.

Why doesn't Council do more slashing?

Council’s Roadside Slashing Program covers around 500 km of roads. With a limited budget and extensive distance and area to cover, our fire prevention slashing program aims to balance the need for cutting with grass curing – the aim is to cut once, thereby reducing the cost to Council and the community. This means that we try to hold off as late as possible in the season before getting started, without compromising road and fire safety. 

Residents are reminded we aim to complete the slashing program before Christmas. In Spring, the fire hazard of long green grass is not such a concern.

I've received a Fire Prevention Notice, what does this mean and what do I need to do?

Under the Country Fire Authority Act 1958, Council has a legal obligation to ensure the community’s risk associated with bushfire and grass fires is reduced. Council’s Community Safety team have powers to inspect and issue Fire Prevention Notices to residents and ratepayers. Council also has a legal right to remove a fire hazard on private land and recoup the costs.

If you have received a Fire Prevention Notice, it means our Community Safety officers have inspected your property for fire hazards in the lead up to the fire season and determined that you need to reduce fuel loads on your property to reduce the fire risk.

You are required to clean up fine fuels such as leaves, twigs and long grass to reduce the risk to your property from fire as per the Notice. The works must be carried out by the completion date. You must maintain your property in this state for the duration of the Fire Danger Period.

You are required to do the works detailed within the Notice. The Notice does not authorise you to remove shrubs or trees. If you wish to remove trees and shrubs, you must contact Council’s Planning Unit for advice.

If you have already cut your grass by the time you receive the Notice, then you don’t need to worry. Just ensure you maintain your property in this state for the duration of the Fire Danger Period.

What about long grass in a neighbouring property or reserve?

Council’s Community Safety team carry out inspections across the Shire, regardless of whether a complaint is submitted. However, if you are concerned about long grass in a neighbouring property or Council-managed reserve, please contact our Community Safety team on 5772 0333 and bring it to our attention.