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Bushfire prone area map

Designated bushfire prone areas are shown on the bushfire prone area map (BPA). The BPA map was introduced in response to the recommendations made by the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. The Minister for Planning makes a formal determination to designate BPAs under section 192A of the Building Act 1993. This determination is based on a detailed review process.

An area is designated as a bushfire prone area based on its bushfire hazard Level. This is an indicator of how extreme a bushfire can be, based on landscape conditions. Bushfire hazard Levels can be different across areas.

More about the mapping process

View the BPA mapping for a property or zoom to see how it affects larger areas of Victoria in VicPlan

Bushfire prone area map reviews

The department has committed to work with local councils, emergency services and other key stakeholders to ensure the map is accurate and as up-to-date as possible. The map is reviewed twice a year.

It was last reviewed and updated on 15 December 2023.

The 24 councils updated in the 15 December 2023 review were:

  • Ballarat
  • Bass Coast
  • Baw Baw
  • Benalla
  • Campaspe
  • Cardinia
  • Casey
  • East Gippsland
  • Frankston
  • Greater Bendigo
  • Greater Geelong
  • Greater Shepparton
  • Hume
  • Macedon Ranges
  • Melton
  • Mildura
  • Mitchell
  • Moorabool
  • Surf Coast
  • Wangaratta
  • Wellington
  • Whittlesea
  • Wodonga
  • Wyndham.

More about recent and future updates

Timetable for the new review (BPA23) – open 19 December 2023

Open review19 December 2023 - 25 January 2024 

Developers and councils identify areas for review of the BPA mapping. This should be where development is happening, and the bushfire hazard has been removed.

29 January - 9 February 2024 (2 weeks)

Collate and prepare for site visits.

Site visits12 February - 15 March 2024 (5 weeks)

Unless the bushfire hazard is removed before site visits, the BPA will not be removed by this review.

Consultation to conclusion18 March - 14 June 2024 (13 weeks)

Prepare draft maps for consultation.

Consultation with councils and fire authorities can vary from 4-8 weeks depending on availability for comment, for example, if it is the bushfire season.
  • Consider comments
  • consult further if required
  • prepare final maps and documentation
  • approval, gazettal, and map updated online and in VicPlan

The department reviews the BPA twice a year with each review taking about 6 months to complete. When a review concludes, the next review usually opens within a week.

The review process is shown below but as many factors can affect the process, the timing is approximate.

Stages of a review

StageTiming
Review opens - email to developers, councils and the Country Fire Authority (CFA) requesting identification of sites for review.

Only sites where the bushfire hazard has been removed or where civil works have commenced should be nominated because the BPA will only be removed if the bushfire hazard has been removed enough to meet the criteria agreed with fire service agencies.

Weeks 1-3 (three weeks)
Collate requests and prepare for site visitsWeeks 4-6 (two weeks)
Conduct site visits statewide

The site should be cleared of the hazard by the time we visit because the review hinges on what we see when we visit. If it is not cleared by then, it will have to be considered in the following review.

Weeks 7-10 (four weeks)
Prepare draft maps for consultationWeeks 11-12 (one to two weeks)
Consultation with councils and fire authorities

Timing varies depending time of year, for example, end of year break, bushfire season, and if we need further consultation on some sites.

Weeks 13-18 (four to six weeks)
Prepare final maps, documentation and brief for approval; approval; gazette notice; update online map; lodge updated map and notify all parties.Weeks 19-28 (six to eight weeks)

While the BPA mapping is reviewed every six months, it is not possible to review every BPA area in Victoria in that time. The department reviews sites as requested by developers and councils where development is about to commence.

Can I ask for a review of my property

As the department reviews mapping of hundreds of subdivisions across the state twice a year, it is not possible to review individual properties. The department reviews areas as requested by developers and councils where development is about to commence.

If development is happening in your subdivision, let us know so we can determine whether to visit and assess the site. We can be contacted by email: bpa@delwp.vic.gov.au.

If the timing of a review does not suit your building plans, and you believe that the bushfire hazard has been removed, you have the option of applying for a modification from the Building Appeals Board. See Applying for a determination to modify the application of the bushfire construction standards above.

Bushfire management overlay (BMO) mapping

The BMO mapping was updated in planning schemes across Victoria on 3 October 2017, via amendment GC13.

These important changes are about making new homes, our communities and the environment safer and more resilient to bushfire.

The mapping criteria were developed in partnership with the CFA and CSIRO as part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to implement all recommendations of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. The updated criteria were applied in consultation with local councils.

Learn more about what the BMO means for you:

Transitional provisions for the updated BMO mapping and scenarios

The BMO mapping was updated on 3 October 2017 and was introduced into planning schemes by Amendment GC13. This may have seen new areas being included in the BMO for the first time.

A planning permit is required for most construction activity on land in the BMO, including building or extending a home. The requirements apply from the day that the BMO maps were updated.

In most cases, existing planning permits aren't affected if the BMO was applied after the permit was issued.

However, the current bushfire protection requirements must be met if you want to amend an existing planning permit or extend the expiry date. Updated planning approval is therefore required in these circumstances.

Where a building permit for a single house has been issued without previously requiring a planning permit, a new planning permit may not be required.

Your local council can provide specific advice about your property or an existing permit.

Some typical scenarios, your next steps, and some facts for each situation are outlined below.

Next Steps

  • The council will contact you if they need more information, or to advise you of the next steps; or
  • You can contact the council to ask how they intend to proceed.

Facts

  • The extreme bushfire hazard was already present on the land, potentially affecting development via the Building Act 1993 and regulations.
  • The council needs to consider bushfire hazard and risk when assessing your application.
  • If bushfire hazard wasn’t already addressed as part of the application, the council may ask you for further information and refer the application to the CFA for comment.

Next Steps

Check with your council if you need to apply for a planning permit.

Facts

  • A planning permit may now be required before a building permit can be issued.
  • There are some planning permit exemptions. Your council can advise you about these.

Next Steps

  • Check that your current planning permit allows the construction of all the buildings you intend to build.

Facts

  • If a planning permit has already been issued for buildings and works or subdivision no additional planning approval is required.
  • The BMO requirements will apply if you want to amend the permit or extend the expiry date.

Next Steps

  • Contact the council to discuss the changes you want to make to the planning permit.

Facts

  • You may need to lodge an application to amend the existing permit.
  • Alternatively, if the change is minor council can, at its discretion, assess changes with a less formal approach.
  • Whichever process is used council will need to consider bushfire hazard and risk.

Next Steps

  • Ask the council what information is required with your request to extend the expiry of the planning permit.

Facts

  • Council needs to consider bushfire hazard and risk when deciding whether to extend the permit.

Next Steps

  • Manage the vegetation as set out in the bushfire attack level assessment in your building permit documentation.
  • Provide a static water supply in a tank of:
    • 2500 litres on lots less than 500 square metres.
    • 5000 litres on lots of 500 square metres or more.

Facts

  • A planning permit is not required for a dwelling or dependent persons unit with a current building permit on land now included in the BMO, provided:
    • vegetation is managed in accordance with the bushfire attack level assessment undertaken at the time the building permit was issued; and
    • a static water supply is available.
  • Vegetation management and water supply must be to the council’s satisfaction.

BMO mapping reviews

The BMO is reviewed twice a year on an ongoing basis.  The department has committed to working with local councils, emergency services and other key stakeholders to ensure the map is accurate and as up to date as possible.

If a property owner believes that the bushfire hazard to the property no longer exists, they can request a review. An example is if a plantation has been harvested and returned permanently to pasture.

A request to remove the BMO from land can be made at any time by the property owner or local government. There is no fee for lodging a request to review the mapping.

A request to remove the BMO should be discussed with your local council before you lodge a formal request. Your council will give you general advice and may also consult with the CFA and the department.

Providing the contact details of the relevant council officer with your request will streamline the process. It will allow the department officers to discuss your application directly with the council in a timely manner.

If the council supports your request, this can be added as a note or an attachment. This isn’t mandatory. A landowner can still submit a request without council support, however the department officers will consult with council.

To request to remove the BMO, the landowner can request a form by emailing bpa@delwp.vic.gov.au.

The form must be completed to ensure all relevant information is supplied, including the property address and photographic evidence showing the vegetation is no longer present.

A request to remove the BMO will be assessed against the mapping criteria set out in:

BMO criteria

Detail

Criteria 1 - Vegetation type and size

*Forest, woodland, scrub, shrubland, mallee and rainforest vegetation that is 4 ha or more in size.

Criteria 2 - Ember buffer

*A 150m buffer is applied from the edge of vegetation identified in Criteria 1.

*This buffer ensures buildings are protected from ember attacks from surrounding vegetation.

Criteria 3 - Extreme risk inclusions

*Area that fire authorities have advised may be subject to extreme landscape bushfires.

*Factors such as slope, bushfire history and poor access may warrant inclusion.

The department will first visit the site for an initial assessment based on the agreed criteria, and then consult with fire and emergency services and council.

Requests for review that are approved by the department will be consolidated into a single planning scheme amendment. Regular amendments at six monthly intervals will be prepared by the department to update the BMO at no cost to local government or the public.

You will be notified by email of the outcome of the review for your property.

Page last updated: 15/12/23