Bushfire prone land
Bushfires have been a natural part of our landscape for thousands of years and remain an ever-present threat.
Building on bushfire prone land
Laws for building and development on bushfire prone land are set out in the Rural Fire Service's (RFS) Planning for Bush Fire Protection (2019).
If you’re building a new residential dwelling, or renovating a property mapped as bushfire prone land, you must meet these standards.
Use the RFS online tool to check if the land is in a bushfire prone area.
If it is, you will need a bushfire assessment report from a consultant. You can also call Council on 02 6670 2400 to check first.
Laws and standards
The RFS has other useful resources and information on its website:
Bushfire prone land map (2012, current)
The map provides the trigger for a more detailed site assessment if you’re planning to build in a bushfire prone area.
All councils are required to map bushfire prone land within their local government area. The maps are based on specifications provided by the NSW Rural Fire Service, and are certified by the NSW Rural Fire Service.
The bushfire prone land map shows vegetation categories, each with a different width buffer.
Vegetation Category 1 (high risk)
Vegetation Category 2 (low risk)
Due to the introduction of Category 3 (grasslands and other medium risk vegetation), changes are now being made to Council’s bushfire prone land map. This is a time intensive process and may take up to a year to complete. The revised map will then be submitted to the NSW Rural Fire Service for approval and certification.
Note: The bushfire prone land map may not be a true indication of bushfire risk due to changes in the landscape. Land that isn’t designated as bushfire prone may still be impacted by bushfires.
Vegetation Category 1
Vegetation Category 1 is considered to be the highest risk for bushfire. It is represented as orange on the bushfire prone land map and has a 100m buffer. This vegetation category has the highest combustibility and likelihood of forming fully developed fires including heavy ember production.
Vegetation Category 1 consists of:
- Areas of forest, woodlands, heaths (tall and short), forested wetlands and timber plantations
Vegetation Category 2
Vegetation Category 2 is considered to be a lower bushfire risk than Category 1 and Category 3. It is represented as yellow on Council’s bushfire prone land map and has a 30m buffer. This vegetation category has lower combustibility and/or limited potential fire size due to the vegetation area shape and size, land geography and management practices.
Vegetation Category 2 consists of:
- Lower risk vegetation parcels. These vegetation parcels represent a lower bushfire risk to surrounding development and consist of:
- Remnant vegetation;
- Land with ongoing land management practices that actively reduces bushfire risk. These areas must be subject to a plan of management or similar that demonstrates that the risk of bushfire is offset by strategies that reduce bushfire risk; AND include:
- Discrete urban reserve/s;
- Parcels that are isolated from larger uninterrupted tracts of vegetation and known fire paths;
- Shapes and topographies which do not permit significant upslope fire runs towards development;
- Suitable access and adequate infrastructure to support suppression by firefighters;
- Vegetation that represents a lower likelihood of ignitions because the vegetation is surrounded by development in such a way that an ignition in any part of the vegetation has a higher likelihood of detection.
Vegetation Category 3
This new category will be included on future map updates.
Vegetation Category 3 is considered to be medium bushfire risk vegetation. It is higher in bush fire risk than category 2 (and the excluded areas) but lower than Category 1. It will be given a 30m buffer. This category consists of:
- Grasslands, freshwater wetlands, semi-arid woodlands, alpine complex and arid shrublands
Vegetation Category 4
These are shown as red on the maps and represent the area within which the impacts of a bushfire, such as ember attack, are likely to be experienced by adjoining landholders to mapped bushland areas.
Check if you’re in bushfire prone land
Find out if your property is affected by bushfire prone land using Council’s online mapping tool.
Use mapping tool
- Enter a property address to search (top left)
- Zoom in, click and drag to view the area