Bush Fire Prone Land

A bush fire prone area is an area with the potential to support a bush fire or be subject to bush fire attack.

These areas are generally close to, or made up of, vegetation that present a bush fire risk, such as forest or grasslands.

According to the  NSW Rural Bush Fire Service  a bush fire prone area is an area within 100m of a high or medium hazard or within 30m of a low bush fire hazard.

Draft Newcastle Bush Fire Prone Land Map (2014)

Council is required to update its Bush Fire Prone Land Map every five years. A draft bush fire prone land map, prepared in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in the NSW Rural Fire Service Guideline for Bush Fire Prone Land Mapping 2006, has recently been prepared to eventually replace the 2009 bush fire prone land map.

  1.  Draft Newcastle Bush Fire Prone Land Map 2014 (pdf)
  2. View the   NSW Rural Fire Service Guideline for Bush Fire Prone Land Mapping 2006 (pdf)

Is your house or land in a bush fire area?

You can look up the Bush Fire Prone Land Map for the Newcastle Local Government area to see whether your house or land is in a bush fire prone area.

  1.  Rural Fire Services map of bush fire prone land (pdf)

What if my home is within a bush fire prone area

Bush fire prone areas are regulated by development and planning controls in place to reduce the bush fire risk.

What is the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Scheme?

In response to concerns raised by homeowners after devastating blazes destroyed more than 200 homes in 2013, the NSW State Government introduced the NSW Rural Fires Amendment (Vegetation Clearing) Bill 2014 which details the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Scheme.

The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS), in partnership with the Department of Planning and Environment, has commenced a formal review of the Scheme. As part of this review some submissions and feedback has shown some abuse of the fuel reduction provisions for purposes other than reducing bush fire risk. When first introduced in August 2014 the Scheme allowed property owners living within 350 metres of Category 1 and Category 2 Bush Fire Prone Land to remove trees within 10 metres of their home, as well as vegetation within 50 metres, without state or local approval, on their land.

Following its introduction resident's in some of Sydney's most exclusive suburbs used the new rules as an excuse to bulldoze trees that obscured their million-dollar harbor views. As a result a number of councils and community groups raised concerns regarding the 350 metre scheme area particularly on small parcels of land.

On 30 September 2014 NSW RFS announced changes to the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Scheme including:

  • The 10/50 scheme area for Category 2 Bush Fire Prone Land is now 150 metres, reduced from 350 metres
  • Councils have the ability to reclassify smaller parcels of vegetation from Category 1 to Category 2 therefore reducing the scheme area (Category 2 is area where the vegetation posed a reduced fire risk)

If you would like more detail on the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Scheme visit the  NSW RFS website.

Do I need approval to do tree works (removal, pruning, lopping) now the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Scheme has been introduced?

The answer to this is not simply 'yes' or 'no'. The first step is to determine whether your property is located within a 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Scheme area. You can do this by using the online tool on the  Rural Fire Service website. If your property is located within a Scheme Area, this still does not mean you can conduct tree works without approval. You must also abide by the requirements set out in the  10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice for New South Wales.

If you do not abide by this code of practice, damaging or removing a tree without consent can be a breach of the NSW  Environment Planning and Assessment Act 1979 or  Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 and can result in penalties or prosecution.

For more information on tree work on private land go to the  Trees on Private Land section of Council's website.