Clearing for bushfire management

Exempt clearing work for bushfire management

You can undertake certain clearing activities to protect your property from bushfires without getting our approval or notifying us. These exemptions are summarised in the table below.

If you need to clear a wider area, you might be able to clear using a vegetation clearing code or apply for a development approval.

Prior to clearing, you should also check whether other laws apply.

This video highlights exempt clearing activities, under vegetation management laws, to safeguard your property from bushfires.

Exempt clearing work

The following table outlines common activities that are exempt clearing work on:

  • freehold land
  • Indigenous land
  • leasehold land for agriculture and grazing purposes.

Note: You can’t join clearing for multiple purposes to create larger clearing widths. For example, you can't clear to a 10m fence track, plus locate an immediately adjacent 10m fire management line.

For a full list of clearing that is exempt under the vegetation management laws, refer to the list of exempt clearing work or Schedule 21 of the Planning Regulation 2017.

Local laws

Before you undertake any clearing, it's important to contact your local council for information on whether local laws apply to your property.

A local law may apply to the removal of any trees in some local government areas. For example, a vegetation protection order or tree protection area may be in place.

Certain local governments have local laws on clearing native vegetation and tree protection, including:

  • Brisbane City Council
  • Gold Coast City Council
  • Ipswich City Council
  • Redland City Council.

Fire breaks and fire management lines

The need for and extent of fire management lines depends on many factors, including:

  • the shape of the property
  • access from a public road
  • the layout of infrastructure
  • slope and aspect
  • the extent of prior clearing
  • the vegetation hazard class of the surrounding vegetation.

The clearing for a firebreak or fire management line must be necessary to protect lives and property - this will depend on the circumstances of the property and surrounding landscape.

This includes activity that also results in clearing of vegetation within regulated koala habitat. You can find out what koala habitat, vegetation categories and protected plants are on your property in a vegetation management property report.

All exempt clearing

Purpose for clearing

Vegetation category

Clearing allowances

Fences, roads or tracks

Category B (Least concern regional ecosystems only)

Clearing to establish a necessary fence, road or vehicular track to a maximum width of 10m

Fire management line


Clearing for a necessary fire management line to a maximum width of 10m.



For a necessary firebreak to protect buildings and other structures (other than a fence line): to a width of up to 1.5 times the height of the tallest vegetation or 20m (whichever is wider)

Refer to Using a clearing code for fire management for other provisions relating to firebreaks

Hazardous fuel load reduction


Fuel reduction burns can be done under a permit issued by your local fire warden - contact your local fire warden for more information

Maintain existing infrastructure


Clearing necessary to maintain existing buildings and other structure, including fences, roads and watering points

Clearing to source construction timber to maintain existing infrastructure on the land

Risk to people or infrastructure


Clearing necessary to remove or reduce the imminent risk the vegetation poses to people or building and other structures

Wider clearing

At times, a landholder may propose wider clearing than what is exempt under the Planning Regulation 2017. In such cases, the accepted development vegetation clearing code, Clearing for infrastructure, may assist. The code enables landholders to clear a wider firebreak in non-coastal areas.

If a wider firebreak is proposed, it may be possible to lodge a development application under the planning framework. You can apply for a development approval for the firebreak, and it will be assessed for its impacts on native vegetation and koala habitat.

You may also need to lodge a separate application under other legislation. For example, to clear protected plants under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.

In this guide:

  1. Exempt clearing work for bushfire management
  2. Using a clearing code for fire management
  3. Development approvals for bushfire management clearing
  4. Bushfire management plans and other considerations
  5. Other laws and permits for bushfire management
  6. Clearing during bushfire emergencies
  7. Cleaning-up after a bushfire
  8. Roadside vegetation management

Print entire guide