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.
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.
Firebreaks are low-fuel areas located immediately adjacent to existing infrastructure (including a building, or other structure, built or used for any purpose) that are cleared and maintained to slow or stop the progress of a fire, or to perform back-burning.
Fire management lines are roads, fence line clearings or tracks (including existing property tracks) used to access water for firefighting or divide the property for fuel reduction burning or back-burning.
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.
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
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
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:
- Exempt clearing work for bushfire management
- Using a clearing code for fire management
- Development approvals for bushfire management clearing
- Bushfire management plans and other considerations
- Other laws and permits for bushfire management
- Clearing during bushfire emergencies
- Cleaning-up after a bushfire
- Roadside vegetation management