A firebreak is an area where flammable material (such as wood, leaves and grass) has been cleared provide vehicle access and helps minimise the spread of a fire.
Properties over 4,047m2 require a firebreak under the City’s Fire Control Order. Firebreaks must be put in place by 1 November each year and maintained to 15 April. Extensions will not be granted.
Important note: If you receive a letter from the City outlining works you need to undertake to reduce fire risks, you must comply with the advice before the due date or a contractor will be appointed by the City.
Need help with your firebreak? Visit the Yellow Pages opens in a new window for firebreak contractors.
Firebreak inspections by the City
Firebreak inspections of private property commence in November and are ongoing until April each year. We have had high levels of compliance within the rural areas, which shows strong community understanding of the impending dangers from bushfires through summer. During this firebreak season the City has issued 90 infringements relating to failure to comply with our Fire Control Order. Most of these infringements were issued to owners of blocks within residential areas.
Fire Control Order Variations
If you cannot comply with the above requirements you can complete the online firebreak variation application form.
Firebreak Variation Application Form
Approved: You must comply with the conditions of the approved variation.
Not approved: You must comply with the requirements of the Fire Control Order.
All flammable materials such as dry grass and weeds must be slashed, mown or trimmed down to a maximum height of 50mm across the entire property (vacant or developed land less than 4,047m2) and all dead vegetation must be removed. This must be put in place by 1 November each year and maintained to 15 April.
No fire may be lit on a day when the fire danger is declared as very high, severe, extreme or catastrophic. You cannot undertake any activities that have the potential to start a fire during a total fire ban. Heavy penalties may apply. To determine the current fire danger level, ring 1196.
Burning vegetation on land that is being cleared for development is an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1986. No burning permit will be issued and the vegetation must be disposed of by other means.
Burning in non rural zoned areas
You are not permitted to burn at any time in areas not zoned rural.
Restricted burning periods for rural areas
In areas zoned as rural, the restricted burning period is between 1 April - 31 May and 1 October - 30 November. During this time, you will need to obtain a Permit to Set Fire to the Bush from the City of Cockburn before starting any burning. The unrestricted burning period is between 1 June - 30 September and you do not need a burning permit. Between 1 December - 31 March no burning is permitted unless declared otherwise by the Minister of Fire and Emergency Services or the City’s Chief Bush Fire Control Officer.
Please note these periods can vary at Council’s discretion.
Rural burning of bush and scrub no larger than 1m³
You can burn off tree branches and leaves without a permit during the restricted burning period.
The below rules apply:
- Light the fire between 6pm and 11pm and have it put out before midnight
- Notify your neighbours
- Have a clear area around the fire area of five metres
- Have equipment on hand to control the fire (i.e. a garden hose)
- One person remains onsite for the entire time the fire is lit
- The area to be lit up is no larger than 1m³ and does not contain materials such as plastics or wet lawn clippings that may produce offensive smoke.
If you cannot meet these requirements, you will need to dispose of the materials by other means or obtain a valid Permit to Set Fire to the Bush from a City of Cockburn Fire Control Officer.
Rural burning of bush or scrub larger than 1m³
You will need to obtain a Permit to Set Fire to the Bush.
Residents can obtain as many permits as required to conduct bushfire hazard reduction on their property. If you are unable to meet the requirements of the Permit to Set Fire to the Bush, you must discuss this with the fire control officer at the time of issue. You may receive a penalty if you fail to comply. If you are unable to meet the requirements of your fire permit, it is an offence to approach another fire control officer for a new permit.
Please contact the City's Fire and Emergency Management area for more information on firebreaks and burning permits on 08 9411 3444 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.