Development in bushfire prone areas - Shoalhaven City Council

Development in bushfire prone areas

Our desire to live close to nature means that many homes are built in areas that are at risk of bush fire. Eighty percent of homes destroyed by bushfire are built within 100m of bushland. What is a bush fire prone area?.

Since August 2002, legal standards have been in place for the safe construction of buildings in bushfire prone areas in NSW. These standards are set out in a document produced by the Rural Fire Service called "Planning for Bushfire Protection 2006" guidelines and must be addressed in the preparation of a development application for land identified on the Bushfire Prone Land map (see interpreting the Bushfire Lands map below)

These standards include:
  • adequate setbacks from bushland
  • inclusion of reduced fuel areas (Asset Protection Zones)
  • correct siting
  • good access roads for firefighters and residents.
Well planned developments in bushfire prone areas make homes and families safer from bushfires.  The Rural Fire Service has a risk assessment tool to assist people to assess their risk.

Bushfire protection standards must be included in development applications submitted to Councils for existing or proposed development in bushfire prone area.

Development Applications are assessed together with Local Rural Fire Services so that people, property and the environment are better protected against the dangers of bushfire.

Interpreting the Bushfire Land Map

If your property is covered by orange, yellow or red on this map it is classified as Bush Fire Prone Land.

Vegetation Category 1
These areas appears as orange on the map and represents forests, woodlands, heathlands, pine plantations and wetlands. Land within 100 metres of this category (indicated by the red buffer on the map) is also captured by the Bushfire Prone Land Map due to the likelihood of bushfire attack.

Vegetation Category 2
These areas appear as yellow on the map and represents grasslands, scrublands, rainforests, open woodlands and mallee. Land within 30 metres of this category (indicated by the red buffer on the map) is also captured by the Bushfire Prone Land Map due to the likelihood of bushfire attack.

100m & 30m Buffers
Each vegetation category has a buffer area to reflect the likelihood of bushfire risk close to the vegetated area.

BAL certificates
A Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) certificate certifies the bushfire attack level that a proposed development will be exposed to based upon the location and type of existing vegetation, the slope of the land and the Fire Danger Index for the site.

BAL certificates certifying bushfire attack levels of 12.5, 19 or 29 can be used to support an application for a Complying Development Certificate (CDC). Complying development is not permitted on land identified on BAL certificates with a bushfire attack level of 40 or Flame Zone. 

BAL certificates can be obtained from Council or a suitably qualified consultant approved by the Rural Fire Service. (new window)

Useful links

In 2014 changes were made to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 approving a series of maps marked 'Bush Fire Planning - Urban Release Area Map'. If you think this may affect you go to Department of Environment and Planning Bush Fire Maps for Urban Release Areas (new window) for details.

NSW Rural Fire Service (new window)
Planning for Bush Fire Protection

NSW Rural Fire Service (new window)
Guidelines for Single Dwelling Development Applications

Shoalhaven District -
Bushfire risk management plan

BAL Cetificate

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