Ensuring bushfire is considered whenever there is a bushfire hazard

The state bushfire policy requires the best available science be applied to identify vegetation, topographic and climatic conditions that create a bushfire hazard.

A bushfire hazard is created by:

  • fuel, such as leaf litter and vegetation, and may include forested areas, woodlands, shrublands, heathlands or grasslands
  • the potential for topography and weather conditions to contribute to fire behaviour.

The hazard can influence what a bushfire or grassfire will do and how it will behave as it is driven by the environment and weather across the landscape.

The Victorian Government, working in partnership with local councils and fire authorities, has used bushfire hazard information to designate bushfire prone areas under the Building Act 1993 and the Bushfire Management Overlay in planning schemes. These designated areas ensure the bushfire hazard triggers planning and building permit requirements and that bushfire is considered in decision making.

The bushfire hazard is considered in hazard assessments prepared at the time planning and building decisions are made.  This ensures that bushfire is considered from the outset to determine if a proposal should proceed and, if it does, what bushfire protection measures should be included.

These hazard assessments include:

  • Bushfire hazard landscape assessment. This considers how the extent of the bushfire hazard may affect a location and the things that provide bushfire protection (for example, fuels within settlements, the road network, and places of shelter). It is required to be prepared in certain circumstance, such as when making decisions on strategic planning projects, planning scheme amendments and planning applications (some exemptions apply).
  • Bushfire site assessment. This considers the classified vegetation and slope in the area surrounding the site.  It helps determine the required area of defendable space and setbacks.  It can also be used to assist in determining the appropriate construction standard for development or whether radiant heat exposure benchmarks have been met in larger scale developments.  It is required when making decisions on strategic planning projects, planning scheme amendments and most decisions on planning applications.

More information

Bushfire hazard and preparing bushfire hazard assessments

Bushfire Prone Area mapping

Bushfire Management Overlay mapping

Page last updated: 07/11/22