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Bushfire hazards

Treating bushfire hazards on your property


It is every landholder's responsibility to manage the bush fire hazards on their property.


Bush fire hazards are any materials which can fuel a fire, such as leaf litter, grass, garden mulch and woodpiles. They can also be made up of solid combustibles or flammable liquids and gases such as petrol, kerosene, alcohol, LPG, natural gas, and acetylene.


Before undertaking bush fire hazard reduction, you may need:


  • an environmental approval, such as using the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice and/or obtaining a bushfire hazard reduction certificate 

  • a fire permit before using fire to treat a bush fire hazard on your property. This approval is for your own safety, as well as the safety of your and neighbouring properties.


During the bush fire danger period, a permit is also required if you're planning to burn off a hazard. A permit may be suspended, such as when there is a total fire ban in your area.



10/50 Vegetation Clearing 


The 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Scheme was introduced following the devastating 2013 bush fires in which more than 200 properties were destroyed.


The NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS), in partnership with the Department of Planning and Environment and the Office of Environment and Heritage, undertook a formal review of the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Scheme. It is clear from some submissions and feedback that while the scheme is designed to reduce bush fire risk, there has been some abuse of the fuel reduction provisions for other purposes.


It is important that you review the amended Code of Practice and FAQs in relation to your proposed clearing before undertaking any work.


Can I clear my land under 10/50 ? 


If you live in an area close to the bush, you need to prepare your home. 


The 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Scheme gives people living near the bush an additional way of being better prepared for bush fires.


The scheme allows people in a designated area to:


  • Clear trees on their property within 10 metres of a home, without seeking approval; and
  • Clear underlying vegetation such as shrubs (but not trees) on their property within 50 metres of a home, without seeking approval.


Checking your land is easy. You can check the RFS website to see if you are in a 10/50 vegetation clearing entitlement area.


LinkRFS entitlement area online tool (external link)


The 10/50 scheme is supported by the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice which can be accessed via the link below. 


link10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice (external link)


The RFS have published a series of frequently asked questions to provide additional information which can be accessed via the link below.


link10/50 Frequently Asked Questions (external link)


Any relevant enquiries in relation to the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice, should be directed to NSW Bushfire Information Line on 1800 679 737.

If homeowners are not in the entitlement area and are concerned about bush fire hazards you can request an inspection by an officer from the NSW RFS by lodging a Bushfire Hazard Complaint (external link) or phoning your local district office on 4868 5500.



Check the online tool on the day you are clearing


Check the RFS online tool (external link) on the day you are clearing to re-confirm your eligibility to clear vegetation under the 10/50 Scheme. This is because the 10/50 vegetation clearing entitlement area, the excluded matters or other rules may have changed. It is important to know that you must follow the eligibility or rules in place at the time you clear any vegetation.

You may only clear your own land.


Bushfire Hazard Reduction Certificate 


A Bush Fire Hazard Reduction Certificate (HRC) may be issued for the environmental approval of bush fire hazard reduction works in accordance with the Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code.


You may apply for a free HRC by contacting your local Fire Control Centre on 4868 5500 and complete an application form (external link). Your application may be processed within as little as seven days unless further information or negotiation is required. If your HRC application is approved you will be provided with a HRC containing specific conditions that must be followed.




Bushfire hazard on someone else's property 


If you're concerned about a potential hazard on somebody else's property (Neighbouring private land, Council Land, Crown Land etc), there are a number of options available to you.


Speak to the person who owns or manages the property and discuss your concerns.


You can also make a formal Bush Fire Hazard Complaint through the Rural Fire Service.



Complaints may be lodged through the Rural Fire Service online, over the phone, or using the forms below. 


Wingecarribee Fire Control Centre
Telephone: (02) 4868-5500
Postal address: PO Box 337, Mittagong NSW 2575
In person: Cnr Priestly & Etheridge Streets, Mittagong

PDFBushfire Hazard Complaint Form - Private Land (PDF, 21kB)

PDFBushfire hazard complaint Form-Unoccupied Crown or Managed Land(PDF, 30kB)


NSW Rural Fire Service Online complaint form: 


LinkReport a bushfire hazard (external link)


The NSW RFS will then inspect the potential hazard. If it is identified as a bush fire hazard, the NSW RFS can direct a property holder to treat or remove it. In the event that a property holder doesn't treat or remove the hazard, the NSW RFS will remove the hazard and can charge the cost to the landholder.Once an inspection and hazard assessment have been completed, you will be notified in writing of the outcome of your complaint.


If the land is managed by Council, the area will be added to Council's fuel reduction program and the hazard reduced using appropriate methodologies.




10/50 Vegetation Clearing and Council


The 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice is a State Government initiative in conjunction with the Rural Fire Service and is not an initiative or policy of Wingecarribee Shire Council.


The Code and other online tools that have been made available are for use by private landowners with any resulting works being the responsibility of the landowner. Council will be unable to provide advice on the code or any enquiries in relation to the mapping provided under the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code entitlement area.


Clearing can only be undertaken by landowners or with approval of the landowner where the clearing is proposed.


Council’s existing Bushfire Risk Management Plans provide a framework for an ongoing Bushfire works program. In line with Council resolution ES 20/14, Council will not be undertaking further works under 10/50 beyond the scope of the current works program.


Resolution ES 20/14:


1. THAT Council acknowledges its existing Bushfire Hazard Reduction program which meets the targets established by the regional Bushfire Risk Management Plan and will not approve requests to undertake vegetation clearing, in any capacity, on Council land under the new 10/50 Code.


2. THAT Council reaffirm that all hazard complaints affecting Council owned or managed land will be assessed and actioned by the Rural Fire Service in accordance with Rural Fires Act 1997.


Last Updated: March 7th, 2018
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