Mitchell Shire is bushfire prone including most of our urban areas. It is important to understand this risk, prepare a bushfire survival plan and maintain your property to minimise the threat of fire.
What Fire Region am I In?
Mitchell Shire is in the North Central Fire Ban District.
Some people will need to do a lot more than others to prepare for and reduce their risk of fire. You can seek advice from the CFA website. It has comprehensive planning guides available for assessing your fire risk, personal planning, and details on community events to assist your preparation for the fire season.
Monitor the VicEmergency website (Victoria's primary website for incident information and warnings) for Fire Danger ratings for the North Central District.
Thinking of Building, extending or subdividing in Mitchell?
The Victorian Government has identified particular parts of the Shire that are at higher risk during times of bushfire. These properties are covered by a Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO). Properties with an overlay may need a planning permit for buildings, extensions and subdivisions to ensure that additional measures are in place to manage the bushfire risk. To find out if your property is covered by the BMO and what this means, please head over to our Bushfire Management Overlay page for more information.
Bushfire Survival Plan
Everyone close to or in a bushfire prone area should have a Bushfire Survival Plan.
Do not wait:
- It is important that you do not wait for an official warning before you take action.
- If a bushfire starts nearby there may not be time for an official warning.
- You must always be alert and vigilant in regard to what is happening around you.
Note: A cordless phone will not work if you lose your electricity supply. Make sure you have a battery operated radio and more than one set of batteries ready to be used if needed.
Understand warnings and what they mean on the VicEmergency Understanding Warnings page.
Am I Fire Ready?
In the lead up to the summer fire season, it’s important that you’re fire ready.
Being one of the most fire-prone regions in the world, Victoria has a higher than average risk of grassfires and bushfires. To stay safe, it is vital that you have a Bushfire Survival Plan and you have a plan to leave the night before.
You must have an effective and rehearsed Bushfire Survival Plan if you live or holiday in a high risk fire region and it should answer:
- When should I leave?
- What should I take with me?
- What if my car won’t start?
- What if it’s a school day?
CFA has produced a Fire Ready Kit that can assist you in developing your Bushfire Survival Plan.
Your safety is your responsibility.
VicEmergency is a centralised website for Victorians to find emergency information and warnings. You can also access preparedness and recovery information related to emergencies. The website has a real-time Google Map display with incidents across the state including floods, storms, fires, earthquakes, tsunami, beach closures, shark sightings and more.
VicEmergency Incidents and Warnings
VicEmergency Prepare & Get Ready
VicEmergency Relief & Recovery
The VicEmergency App is the official Victorian Government app for access to timely, relevant and tailored emergency warnings and information. You can download this to your smart phone or tablet and set up alerts for your location.
This App replaced the FireReady App on 16 November 2016. Please make sure you have updated to the new app and set up your watch zones. Visit the VicEmergency App page for information on how to download and install the app.
Take note of local event and 'plan and prepare' information in local papers and via the CFA Plan & Prepare webpages and CFA Whats On Webpage.
CFA Facebook and Twitter
CFA and VicEmergency also use Facebook and Twitter to alert the community to warnings, advice and incidents.
Follow CFA on Facebook
Follow VicEmergency on Facebook
Follow CFA on Twitter
In November 2016, the VicEmergency Hotline (1800 226 226) replaces the Bushfire Information Line. Please make sure you have this in your phone and on hand prior to an emergency.
Be prepared for power failure in extreme weather conditions – particularly during times of hot weather and high bushfire risk. Victoria has the most reliable power supply in Australia, but sometimes power outages do occur.
Consider your need for back-up power if you are highly reliant on electricity and don’t rely on power as part of any bushfire preparedness plan.
Remember power outages can also affect phones, radios and water pumps - so arrange for alternatives that do not rely on electricity supply.
Download the Your Guide To Power Outages Brochure
For more information visit the Victorian Government Energy and Earth Resources website
What YOU CAN do
- preparing your property and yourself for the actions of fire and gaining knowledge in how to prevent a fire
- having the necessary equipment and knowledge ready should a fire approach you or your property
- having all members of a property familiar with the fire plan
- include your pets and livestock in your plan
- The best form of protection in a bushfire is to have all of the above in place before a fire approaches, therefore giving yourself the best chance of survival.
- It is important that you familiarise yourself with the risks of your area, grass or bush fire etc.
- It is also highly important that you familiarise yourself with the CFA website BEFORE THE FIRE SEASON or at least BEFORE A FIRE STARTS.
- Gaining an understanding of the nature of fires and what to DO and NOT DO before, during and after a fire could save your life and those of your loved ones.
By becoming familiar with the concepts of fire prevention; you have less chance of accidently starting a bushfire and more chance of protecting your property and assets should a bushfire approach. If you are unable to access this information at www.cfa.vic.gov.au, you can call for a Fire Ready Kit on 1800 240 667.
PREPARING YOUR PROPERTY
On your property
- Keep grass and undergrowth trimmed, keep grass and weeds below 200mm
- Rake up and reduce leaf litter and overgrown shrubs
- Remove branches overhanging buildings and leaf litter from roofs and gutters
- This helps protect your house from direct flame contact and reduces the radiant heat
- Store fuels and chemicals away from your house
- Move woodpiles away from the house
- Ensure underfloor areas are enclosed or screened
- Seal gaps, vents and roof spaces to prevent embers entering your house
- For rural and semi-rural allotments, reduce fuel by cutting or effective grazing for at least 20m around dwellings and other assets including your boundary fence and neighbours assets
- Consider safety requirements for your stock including a fire safe area or paddock by creating a mineral earth break and reducing fuel loads
- The perimeter of any allotment boundary that adjoins a township is to have a minimum of a 10m wide fuel-reduced fire break (slashed or grazed)
- CFA has developed a ‘Landscaping for Bushfire' brochure that can help you plan a ‘fire-safe' garden for your property
10/50 Rule - The Rules Have Changed
Under the 10/50 rule, landowners in a number of planning zones can remove any vegetation within 10 metres of their dwelling and all fine fuels within 50 metres without the need for a Planning Permit. This does not include roadsides or your neighbour’s property. If you are in any doubt about the works you are planning to do, contact Council’s Statutory Planning Department for advice.
For more information visit the CFA Clearing Trees and Vegetation page.
What can I do without a Permit?
- Remove excess leaf litter, bark and twigs for fire prevention purposes (Please note, this does not include living native plants)
- Remove declared noxious and environmental weeds. Control of woody weeds such as gorse, broom and blackberry
NB: Permits and/or controls may apply to working on roadsides, chemical use and machinery use. Please contact Council for further information.
What works do I need a Permit for?
Forest Fire Management Victoria have designated areas on public land on which people can collect firewood during certain periods of the year. Visit the Forest Fire Management Victoria website for more information about these areas and times. Removal of timber for firewood has restricted value for fire prevention, as it is the fine fuels, rather than heavy timbers, that pose the greatest risk in bushfire. For information about Firewood Collection Permits for Council land and roadsides, contact our Community Compliance Department on 03 5734 6200.
Visit our Grazing Permit Application page
Grazing is encouraged as a possible method to reduce fuel load on Low Conservation Value Roadsides if the fuel load is high, and there are no significant weed infestations, such as serrated tussock, which would be spread by grazing animals. Grazing must be undertaken in a safe manner and a permit is required from Council's Local Laws Department in order to graze roadsides.
Grass - How Long is too Long?
Under Section 26 of Council’s Local Law No 1 Community and Environment 2013, an owner or occupier of land in a residential local law area must ensure that the land does not have grass or weeds present which exceeds 200 millimetres in height.
Property owners or occupier of the land are required to maintain the grass on private property all year round.
Penalties apply for non compliance.
Infringement penalty: $200 Maximum penalty: $1000
Visit our Penalties and Infringements page
Visit our Open Air Burning page for the laws about burning off in Mitchell. Restrictions apply based on your property's local law zoning and there are rules about what you can and can't burn. Download the Factsheet on our Open Air Burning page for more information.
The Fire Danger Period can come into effect anytime in late 2016. Please check our Open Air Burning page or the CFA website to find out when the Fire Danger Period commences.
The Fire Danger Period is NOT the same thing as a Total Fire Ban. Total fire ban information can be found on the CFA Total Fire Bans and Ratings page and the Can I or Can't I? page
Green Waste Drop Off
Council will be accepting green waste free of charge at the Broadford, Wallan, Pyalong and Seymour Resource Recovery Centres for four weekends in November. Residents will need to show their Driver’s Licence or rates notice at the time of dropping off their green waste. Mitchell Shire ratepayers who live outside Mitchell are eligible on presentation of their rates notice and ID.
Please ensure that green waste is free of contaminates such as rubbish and declared noxious weeds, so it can be re-used as mulch. Any loads containing items other than green waste will be charged accordingly. (See our Resource Recovery page for what items are eligible for the free green waste drop off program).
The new drop-off times will help manage the volumes of green waste that are dropped off by enabling mulching and transporting to occur during the week – therefore reducing the fire risk of large stockpiles of green waste or of mulched material
For more opening hours and locations visit our Resource Recovery page.
COMMUNITY INFORMATION GUIDES
Community Information Guides (CIGs), formerly known as Township Protection Plans (TPPs), provide a planned response for both emergency services and the community to a bushfire within close proximity to a township where people may be impacted. The guides address the specific needs of the town's people, their safety and pre-planning. They let community members know how to effectively prepare their properties, how to protect assets, the environment and the economy. They are generally broken up into three parts: a) Community Information, b) Township Planning Factors and c) Fire Protection.
CIGs have been prepared for the following towns in Mitchell Shire:
- Upper Plenty
- Wandong-Heathcote Junction
To check if your town has a CIG, visit the CFA Community Information Guides page.
Further Fire Information