Bushfire Management Services

Toolangi Victoria 2009

Habitat Ecology can assist clients in a range of Bushfire Management Services.

On the 18 November 2011 the Victorian Planning Provisions were amended by Amendment VC83 to introduce new bushfire planning provisions to the Victorian planning system.
These changes included the introduction of the Bushfire Management Overlay and the associated particular provision clause 52.47 – Bushfire protection: planning requirements. These provisions replace the Wildfire Management Overlay. These new provisions may require a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment and/or a Bushfire Management Statement.


On March 11, 2009 new building regulations came into effect in Victoria. These regulations require a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment to be undertaken for every new home within the Bushfire Prone Area (BPA) There may also be a requirement for a Bushfire Management Statement (BMS).

Bushfire Attack Levels is a measure of the potential radiant heat, level of ember attack and direct flame contact that a building may be exposed to.

There are 6 levels

  1. BAL FZ (Flame Zone)
  2. BAL 40
  3. BAL 29
  4. BAL 19
  5. BAL 12.5
  6. BAL Low

These individual levels are based on

  1. The region where you live.
  2. The vegetation type around your property.
  3. The distance from your home to individual vegetation types.
  4. Slope on the property.


An application prepared under the Bushfire Management Overlay provisions must include a Bushfire Management Statement that demonstrates the way in which the application meets the relevant objectives, standards, mandatory standards and decision guidelines within clause 44.06 (Bushfire Management Overlay) and clause 52.47 (Bushfire Protection: Planning Requirements) of planning schemes.

Habitat Ecology staff can undertake an assessment of the site utilising the BMO methodology which will:

    1. Detail the defendable space requirements;
    2. Assess the vegetation classifications based on the Australian Standard for Building in a Bushfire Prone Area (AS3959-2009);
    3. Provide a detailed description of site, landscape and bushfire scenarios;
    4. Any permit specifications including access and water supply.

    On the 30th of July 2014 the Planning Minister, Mathew Guy, announced some reforms to the Bushfire Management Overlay.

    Key features of the reforms include

      1. Allowing private bushfire bunkers as an alternative safety measure, where there may be increased bushfire safety risks that need additional consideration;
      2. Allowing vegetation clearance to achieve defendable space. The cleared area around a home is vital to protecting the home’s occupants. Vegetation clearance obligations (‘defendable space’) would be limited to the title boundary of the relevant property;
      3. Ensuring the assessment of bushfire risk is consistent with the Australian Standard;
      4. Allowing more sensible bushfire safety measures in new master-planned estates; and
      5. Allowing homes to be built on ‘infill’ lots surrounded by other dwellings. Where a dwelling is allowed, it will be able to be built with a fair and equitable bushfire response.

      Further information about the BMO and BMS can be found at Department of Transport Planning & Local Infrastructure

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