Bush Fire Prone Land

In August 2002, the State Government introduced legislation to improve the protection of life and property from the threat of bush fire. The legislation requires all councils to map bush fire prone land within their local government area, which becomes the basis for planning for bush fire protection.

While the North Sydney Municipality is largely an urbanised area, it does contain a number of pockets of substantial bushland which help support a range of ecosystems, incorporating a diverse array of plants and animals. The fact that these areas of bushland which are prone to fire are located in close proximity to urban development creates management challenges for the community.

Proposed development needs to balance conservation of the natural environment and bush fire protection measures to reduce the risk of bush fire to life, property or the environment. Construction should use techniques and materials to maximise their resistance to bush fire and determine the measures required for evacuation of people requirements of emergency services, during a bush fire.


What land is Bush Fire Prone Land?

Bush Fire Prone Land is an area of land that can support a bush fire or is likely to be subject to bush fire attack. The North Sydney Bush Fire Prone Land Map was certified by the Rural Fire Service on the 8 April 2009 in accordance with Section 146 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979. The Bush Fire Prone Land map shows all land considered to be a risk from bush fire.

Bushfire Prone Land Map (633KB)


This Map does not contain the NSW Rural Fire Services Commissioner's signature nor the date that the Map was certified. Despite this, the information contained within this Map is identical to that contained within the certified Map and can be treated as the Map certified by the NSW Rural Fire Services Commissioner for the purposes of 146(2) of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979. If required, the signed copy of the Map can be viewed at Council upon request.


What do the colours on the map mean?

A property is deemed to be bush fire prone land if it is wholly or partly located in the red, orange or yellow area on the North Sydney Bush Fire Prone Land Map.

  Orange areas of bushland, classified by the Rural Fire Service and North Sydney Council as 'Vegetation Category 1'. This is the most hazardous vegetation category.
  Yellow areas of bushland classified by the Rural Fire Service and North Sydney Council as 'Vegetation Category 2'. These are of a lesser hazard than the 'orange' vegetation category.
  Red developed lands which adjoin the bushland and are classified by the Rural Fire Service and North Sydney Council as 'Vegetation Buffer 100m & 30m'.

These are the areas in which developments and people are most likely to be affected by a bush fire burning in the vegetation (yellow or orange) areas. The red area extends for a distance of 100m from the 'orange' vegetation category 1 areas and for a distance of 30m from the 'yellow' vegetation category 2 areas.

What does it mean if my property is bush fire prone?

If any of your property is located within a red, orange or yellow area on the Bush Fire Prone Land Map, it means that issues relating to bush fire must be taken into account when designing a development as well as in the assessment of a development application for that land.

Development of bush fire prone land may require the incorporation of special building setbacks, landscaping and construction requirements. However, the type and extent of requirements that apply depend on the type of development, the degree of bush fire hazard and the distance from the bush fire hazard.


What bushfire requirements are required to be considered?

The NSW Rural Fire Service's Planning for Bush Fire Protection (2019) outlines the bush fire protection measures to be included when planning or modifying a residential or special fire protection purpose building or development in a bush fire prone area.

These guidelines incorporate legislative provisions and performance criteria, together with more options for achieving compliance for proposed buildings in bush fire prone areas. This approach allows for considerable flexibility and innovation. It links the bush fire hazard for a site with implementation of appropriate bush fire protection measures.

The six bush fire protection measures include:

  1. Asset Protection Zones (fuel reduced areas).
  2. Building Construction and design (using AS:3959).
  3. Access arrangements.
  4. Water supply and utilities.
  5. Emergency Management Arrangements.
  6. Landscaping.
  7. A copy of the guidelines is available from: NSW Rural Fire Service website.


What if only part of my property is bush fire prone?

If you are constructing a dwelling, or doing alterations and additions, and the dwelling or work is not located within that part of the site designated as bush fire prone land, no special bush fire requirements will be applied to the development application.

If the application is for a residential subdivision, or other types of development identified as 'integrated development' under Section 100B of the Rural Fires Act [eg. school, nursing home, State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for Seniors or People with a Disability) 2004], the application is still considered to be integrated development and must be referred to the Rural Fire Service.


What if my house is located outside of the bush fire prone area?

The edge of the bush fire prone land line on the map is artificial. The impact of a bush fire may not be limited to the designated bush fire prone area. However, it is considered that the level of bush fire risk outside of these areas is such that no special bush fire construction measures need to be incorporated into a development. The bush fire risk can be adequately managed by normal building practices, combined with ongoing maintenance of buildings and yards by the owners or occupiers.


Further information

Council has prepared a fact sheet to provide additional detail to explain the relevant approval processes required for development on land which is identified as being bush fire prone.

Bush Fire Prone Land fact sheet (130KB)


Additional fact sheets relating to building within bush fire prone areas are also available from NSW Rural Fire Services website

If you require further information, please contact one of Council's Planning Advisers (02) 9936 8100.

Related Links