Bushfire ready in native vegetation

Date posted: 01 January 2013

Landholders are being reminded to seek advice from the Country Fire Service (CFS) before burning any native vegetation on private properties as part of their fuel reduction strategy.

Country Fire Service (CFS) Compliance Officer Phil McDonough said landowners need permission to clear or remove any native vegetation in South Australia.

“An application must be made to the CFS for permission to clear or burn-off native vegetation on private land, legally or safely,” Mr McDonough said.

Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) Regional Coordination Director, Grant Pelton said burning off in native vegetation is considered removal or clearance of vegetation under Native Vegetation Act.

“The State Government, Native Vegetation Council (NVC) and local councils combine their efforts to protect life and property, while still recognising the value of native vegetation,” he said.

“All agencies work together to educate and assist landowners with the management of fire risk on their properties.”

The principal adviser from the NVC Mark Aberdeen is also encouraging South Australians to seek advice for the management and clearance of native vegetation around homes and permanent structures.

“Owners can effectively self-manage to a minimum level of native vegetation clearance, including up to 20 metres from a house or approved structure and five metres from a shed or non-approved structure, without requiring approval from the NVC or CFS,” Mr Aberdeen said.

“However these minimum clearance distances do not apply to land with heritage agreements but anything beyond that will need an approval from the CFS,” he said.

“These controls are put in place to ensure the ongoing preservation of what remains of our native vegetation.”

Mr Aberdeen said spring was a good time for landholders to prepare their home ahead of the summer bushfire season.

“Landholders should maintain grass to a maximum height of 10 centimetres, remove heaped dry vegetation to provide a minimum of 20 metres clean defendable area around built assets, clean gutters and remove flammable items such as wood piles well away from a building,” he added.

Mr Aberdeen also advises landholders to check with their local council about requirements under Environment Protection Authority legislation for burning materials outside of the declared Fire Danger Season.

For more detailed information on preparing your property for bushfire please refer to the CFS website.

A series of fact sheets and a guide detailing the NVC approval process is available online.

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Alex Taylor
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