Frequently Asked Questions

Is my property bushfire prone?

To find out if your property is subject to bushfire planning click here

What is a BAL rating?

BAL – Bushfire Attack Level

A BAL rating is a measurement of the potential radiant heat output of a bushfire on a particular surface displayed in Kw/m². BAL ratings for planning and construction have been divided into six separate levels including:

  • BAL-12.5
  • BAL-19
  • BAL-29
  • BAL-40
  • BAL-FZ

For more information on BAL ratings click here

What is a BAL assessment?

A BAL Assessment is a measurement of a Bushfire Attack Level that can be applied to any building or structure. A BAL Assessment is required to be conducted if planning to build within a designated bushfire prone area.

I have a BAL rating, now what?

If your BAL is BAL-LOW, you have no obligation to introduce construction standards under AS 3959-2009.

If your BAL rating is BAL-12.5, BAL-19 or BAL-29, there is an inherent level of bushfire risk involved and construction standards under AS 3959-2009 must be adhered to. Depending on your development type you may also be required to have a Bushfire Management Plan or Statement prepared for anything above BAL-12.5.

If your BAL rating is BAL-40 or BAL-FZ, you will require either a Bushfire Management Plan or Statement.  Construction standards under AS 3959-2009 also become more stringent to guard against heightened levels of radiant heat, ember attack and even flame contact. We recommend that hazard reduction be done in these cases rather than attempt to build.

What is a Bushfire Management Statement?

A Bushfire Management Statement (BMS) is a short document prepared to provide an assessment against the bushfire protection criteria for a proposed development.

For more information on Bushfire Management Statements see (link)

What is a Bushfire Management Plan?

A Bushfire Management Plan (BMP) includes an assessment against the bushfire protection criteria along with other elements that include identification of environmental considerations, an assessment of bushfire hazards, and implication of works required to reduce bushfire risk in perpetuity.

For more information on Bushfire Management Plans click here

What is a BAL Certificate?

A BAL certificate is used to certify that a BAL rating has been achieved. BAL certificates are either issued with a BAL Assessment or in conjunction with a Bushfire Management Statement once mitigation works have concluded to achieve a target result.

What is a BAL Contour Assessment?

BAL Contour Maps are typically used when there are no structures involved in a planning application. Planning situations such as strategic planning proposals, subdivisions or boundary adjustments will require a contour map to illustrate the BAL ratings and potential impacts within the subjects lots. BAL contour maps also help to highlight high risk and low risk bushfire areas prior to selecting an appropriate building location.

For more information on BAL contour maps see here

What does my BAL rating mean?

  • BAL-LOW – Low risk, no requirement to modify building design.
  • BAL-12.5 – Maximum radiant heat output = 12.5 kW/m², exposed to ember attack.
  • BAL-19 – Maximum radiant heat output = 19 kW/m², exposed to increasing levels of ember attack ignited by windborne embers together with increasing heat flux.
  • BAL-29 – Maximum radiant heat output = 29 kW/m², exposed to increasing levels of ember attack ignited by windborne embers together with increasing heat flux.
  • BAL-40 – Maximum radiant heat output = 40 kW/m², exposed to increasing levels of ember attack ignited by windborne embers, together with increasing heat flux and increased likelihood of exposure to flames.
  • BAL-FZ – Direct exposure to flames from fire front, in addition to heat flux and ember attack.

What if my development is BAL-40 or BAL-FZ?

If you’re development is at BAL-40 or BAL-FZ it is far more desirable and cost effective to reduce the bushfire risk on the property than to attempt to build at this level. There are many methods available to reduce bushfire hazards that are suitable for varying situations. Entire Fire Management can consult, advise and complete all the works using methods that are best suited to your development.

Call us now on (08) 9498 0056 or speak to Gavin on 0488 052 410

How wide do my firebreaks have to be?

Each Local Government area has it’s own variation of Firebreak Standard. However, generally they need to be wide enough to accommodate for a HD/3.4 Fire appliance (10t 4WD truck).

3 meters wide traffic-able, between tree trunks and 4 meters wide clear of shrub/scrub vegetation so the fire fighters can exit the truck safely. Also 4 meters high clear of vegetation.

I live on a steep hill, can I still have firebreaks?

Firebreaks can be installed in very steep rugged terrain, however, they need to be constructed in such a way to minimise soil erosion and vehicle rollovers.

At Entire Fire Management, we specialise in installing firebreaks through steep and rugged terrain, we know how to make them safe so they don’t cause significant soil erosion during the wet season.

How do I get a firebreak variation?

Local Governments generally no longer issue firebreak variations unless there is creditable evidence that a firebreak cannot be installed and an alternative solution can be provided.

We can tailor a firebreak variation plan for you and also negotiate an alternative solution with the council.

Do I have to remove all the trees from around my house to be bushfire safe?

NO, you do not need to remove all the vegetation from around your house to be safe. Creating a safe zone, known as an Asset Protection Zone (APZ) around your house is a great idea. However, finding the balance between reducing the bushfire fuels and protecting the environment can be difficult.

There is a standard for Asset Protection Zones (APZ) and can be on pages 63, 64 & 65 of the following link

Entire Fire Management specialise in the creation and maintenance of an Asset Protection Zone (APZ). We strive to get the best result between making your property safe and protecting the environment.

When should I burn off my property and do I need a permit?

Autumn and Spring are the preferred seasons to be burning off your property, however it depends on your location, vegetation and the soil dryness.

Your Local Government issues burning permits during the Restricted Burning Times which are published either on their website or in your Rates Notice.

Are there alternatives to burning?

Hazard Reduction Burning, also known as a Burn off or Controlled or Prescribed Burning does not suit all situations. Sometimes there are social or environmental factors that may mean an alternative solution may need to be considered.

Because here, at Entire Fire Management we provide all solutions to reducing your bushfire fuels we know what works best. When we look at your property we can determine what solution will be efficient and most cost effective, whether that’s Burning, Eco-Forestry Mulching, Spraying etc.

Does burning destroy the native bush?

No, it doesn’t have to. Hazard Reduction Burning can be controlled to different intensities depending on the result required.

When planning a burn off, you need to consider the vegetation and soil type, as well as where the native vegetation seed banks are, so that you can determine how much intensity is required to not only reduce your bushfire fuels but to encourage native plant growth and seed germination.

With a very extensive knowledge of Hazard Reduction Burning, Entire Fire Management are the experts in conducting burns to suit your property and vegetation.

Does burning kill all the native animals?

If done correctly, no it doesn’t. Hazard Reduction Burns should be completed in such a manner that the native animals have time to prepare, whether they retreat from the area or burrow underground.

Regularly burning your property will actually encourage more native animals to reside or forage for food on your property.

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