Fire control concerns everyone in our community. As Bunbury residents we are very fortunate to live in close proximity to a haven of natural bushland. However, embers from a bushfire can travel many kilometres as experienced in the devastating Waroona bushfires.
Anyone can lose their homes to an ember attack. Please consider that anything a cigarette lighter can light can also be ignited by an ember. This includes seagrass or cork doormats.
The South West has been experiencing extended drought periods and it is highly important that properties are prepared for the summer months. As a property owner it is your legislated responsibility to undertake fire prevention measures. Penalties apply for neglecting these responsibilities.
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Each year burning is NOT permitted from 30 December to 28 March inclusive. A Burning Permit must be obtained for the burning of any materials (including garden refuse) from 15 November to 29 December inclusive and from 29 March to 10 May inclusive. These dates are subject to change and therefore you should check with Community Law, Safety and Emergency Management for the most current information.
Permits are automatically cancelled on days of very high and extreme fire danger as no burning of any type is permitted, not even in incinerators.
Permits to burn must be obtained from the City of Bunbury and all conditions imposed by the Council’s Fire Control Officers and Authorised Persons must be followed. Conditions may include:
- Three adults present at the fire at all times;
- Neighbouring property owners and occupiers notified at least four days before burning or on the day if agreed;
- Running water or a fire unit with water pump and at least 500 litres of water at the fire at all times;
- Specific time of the burn;
- Certain wind conditions and direction for fire and smoke management.
Permits or approvals to burn in residential areas are issued only where alternative means of removing fire hazards are not practical. Permits will generally not be issued on land less than 2,000 square metres.
Persons burning without a permit or approval may receive an on the spot fine or be liable for fines up to $2,000 plus costs and/or imprisonment. In the case of a running or escaping fire, the responsible person may be liable to prosecution or civil action and may be required to pay damages and the cost of fire fighting, even if a permit or approval has been obtained.
Outdoor Solid Fuel Patio Heaters
With an ever increasing number of residents using solid fuel patio heaters, the City of Bunbury has moved to introduce permits that allow their use during the restricted fire season in a bid to reduce the risk of fire.
An inspection would be carried out prior to the granting of a permit, which would cover the homeowner for the duration of the restricted burning period.
Open pit fires, chimineas and other similar appliances do not meet the criteria under the Bushfires Act, however, can be considered for a single use permit as long as it can be demonstrated that it does not present unreasonable risk.
If you are a landowner or occupier within the City of Bunbury you have a responsibility to carry out fire prevention work on your property. This is even more important during the summer months when long grasses and other combustible material can easily catch fire.
For this reason, each year between 30 November and 10 May, firebreaks must be maintained on land that is bigger than 2,024 square metres. Firebreaks should be at least three (3) metres wide and kept clear of all flammable materials during this time. They should be located immediately inside all external boundaries and also immediately surrounding all buildings and haystacks situated on the land. If you have several adjoining lots, the firebreaks may be inside and along the external boundaries of the group of lots.
Properties that are less than 2,024 square metres must have all flammable material, except living standing trees, removed from the whole of the land. Three metre wide firebreaks also apply to all small rural holdings zoned as Special Rural under Town Planning Schemes.