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Fire Restrictions

During the CFA Declared Fire Danger Period, burning off in the open air, other than for cooking purposes or warmth/comfort is prohibited.  During a day of Total Fire Ban no fires can be lit. A zero tolerance approach is taken to the deliberate or reckless lighting of fires during the Declared Fire Danger Period and serious fines apply for breaches of these regulations. The CFA brochure "Can I, Can't I"(PDF, 440KB) explains some of the restrictions which apply during the Fire Danger Period.

The Declared Fire Danger Period is announced by the CFA and generally runs from October to April each year. Due to the wet weather in recent months, this period is expected to commence later than usual.

Council declares its own 'fire restriction period' in the lead up to the Fire Danger Period. This is expected to start after the Labour Day Weekend in March. This means that a Council permit will be required for any open air burning throughout the municipality. Upon receiving a permit, burning will be allowed up until the Fire Danger Period is declared finished by the CFA.  

All other inquiries relating to fire prevention can be directed to the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer on (03) 5382 9777.

2017/2018 Fire Season

The Chief Officer of the CFA declared the 2017/18 fire season in Horsham municipality as commencing, for the northern part as of 1 am on Monday 20 November 2017 and the southern part as of 1 am on Monday 27 November.

This means we are in the period when there is to be no lighting of a fire or allowing a fire to continue in private property without a valid permit.

This map(PDF, 297KB) shows where 'north of the line' and 'south of the line' is. It also shows the other lines for other municipalities in CFA Region 17.

Council will issue ‘CFA Permits to Burn’ for grass and stubble burning (with strict conditions) from Tuesday 13 March. 

The CFA consider when the season has reached a level of lowered fire risk, and the Chief Officer can lift the restrictions on the lighting of fires in general. The default date for this is 1 May.

To obtain a permit you can begin the process by filling in online or printing off this form and either posting back to Council or dropping it into Civic Centre at 18 Roberts Avenue, Horsham. 

Fire Ban Districts

The Horsham Rural City Council falls within the Wimmera Fire Ban District.

Total Fire Bans are declared by the CFA on days when fires are likely to spread rapidly and be difficult to control. Victoria is divided into nine fire ban districts.

For further information and to download a fire districts map and municipality list visit the Country Fire Authority (CFA) website.

Property Inspections and Fire Prevention Notices

Prior to the summer fire danger period, Municipal Fire Prevention Officers conduct inspections of properties throughout the municipality. Owners of properties where Fire Prevention works are required, will be contacted by letter seeking their co-operation in ensuring that their property does not present a fire hazard to adjoining properties.  Additional compliance processes are available to Council if required.

To report a property as a potential fire hazard, please complete and submit a customer request or contact Council on (03) 5382 9777.

Community Information Guides

Community Information Guides (formerly Township Protection Plans) are a key source of information for the community, and an important tool to emphasise the shared responsibility between the community, fire services and local government.

Guides have been developed for a number of communities in Horsham Rural City that are deemed to be at risk of bushfire or grassfire:

  • Horsham and Haven
  • Natimuk
  • Dadswells Bridge

These guides can be viewed on the Country Fire Authority (CFA) website.

Bushfire Planning and Preparing on your Property

The CFA has various amounts of information, checklists, templates and flyers on their website to help you better plan for fire in and around your home. These can be viewed at the Country Fire Authority (CFA) website

Every landowner has a responsibility to ensure they take necessary steps in reducing the risk of bushfire on their property and to reduce the risk of injury or damage to other persons or property.

The Horsham Planning Scheme provides for bushfire regulation in the municipality, along with a range of local and state legislation. Property owners should be aware of their requirements under the law. If your property/dwelling falls within a Bushfire Management Overlay, the planning provisions allow for a range of approved measures for bushfire protection. This includes allowances for creating defendable space (i.e. removal of vegetation under specified clearance rules).

Bushfire protection can also be achieved through other means, such as the way you site and construct your dwelling, the way adjoining land is managed and the level of access to water supply and roads.

Think before you remove! If you are not sure about what your legal requirements are, please contact the Council’s Planning Department on (03) 5382 9777.

If you believe that trees or vegetation need better management on Council owned land, please complete and submit a customer request or contact Council on (03) 5382 9777.

Bushfire Planning by Council

Council is responsible for the preparation of a Municipal Fire Management Plan which identifies actions and responsibilities for various agencies including Council in the management of fire risk within the municipality. Council have developed a flyer on our role in fire prevention which can be viewed here(PDF, 526KB)

Council adopted the latest version of the Horsham Rural City Council Municipal Fire Management Plan(PDF, 2MB) at its meeting on 4 December 2017. 

The preparation of the plan is overseen by the Municipal Fire Management Planning Committee (MFMPC) which has representatives of the key agencies responsible for fire management within the Council including the CFA and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). The key emphasis within the plan concerns the threat posed from bushfire.

One of the actions identified for Council is the slashing of key roadsides and other areas to assist in mitigating the risks associated with bushfire. VicRoads also assists by undertaking similar slashing works on all of its highways throughout the municipality.

Council’s Municipal Fire Prevention Officers also inspect residential properties across the Council throughout the fire season and Fire Prevention Notices are issued to residents where fuel reduction works such as mowing and spraying are required.

DELWP are responsible for bushfire mitigation works on public land within the municipality.  

Roadside Slashing Program

Fire readiness is a high priority for Horsham Rural City Council. Roadside slashing forms part of a range of fire prevention activities which are undertaken in consultation with the CFA and are guided by Council’s Municipal Fire Management Plan.

Roadside slashing by Council is undertaken September - December each year, depending on weather conditions.

VicRoads undertakes slashing on roadsides for which they are responsible, during the same period.

For further information please contact Council's Municipal Fire Prevention Officer on (03) 5382 9777.

Essential Water Replacement

The Country Fire Authority Act 1958 (s30 and s32) provides powers to the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to take water from any waterway or any other water supply on public and private land for firefighting purposes. 

The Essential Water Replacement Scheme was put in place for the replacement of essential water used during bushfire operations by Victoria’s fire agencies.  

In the event of fire, regardless of where it starts, if water needed for essential use is taken from domestic tanks and stock or irrigation dams for fire fighting purposes, it will be replaced (same quantity as taken) when requested by the Landholder.   

Essential water is defined as Water required to sustain:

  • the health of affected residents and pets
  • the health and productivity of their stock
  • agricultural and horticultural crops, permanent plantings and intensive industries.

If you believe essential water needs replacing on your property, please submit an essential water replacement claim form.

For a copy of form please click here(DOCX, 52KB) or visit the DELWP website.