Fire Danger Ratings and Total Fire Bans

Fire Danger Ratings provide information to help you decide what actions you need to take to protect yourself and others. Fire Danger Ratings feature in weather forecasts during the fire season.

Horsham Rural City Council is in the Wimmera Fire Weather District. You should check the rating every day during summer.

Every day you should:

  • Monitor conditions and official sources for warnings.
  • If a fire starts near you, take action immediately to protect your life.
  • Do not wait for a warning.
  • Adhere to local regulations governing fire activity.
  • Ensure any industrial and agricultural activities adhere to relevant guidelines.

Total Fire Bans are declared by CFA's Chief Officer on days of heightened fire danger to reduce the risk of a fire starting. As well as the Fire Danger Rating, the Chief Officer also considers other factors such as current fires in the landscape resource commitment and increased likelihood for human and lightning induced fires when declaring Total Fire Bans. Therefore, the CFA might declare a Total Fire Ban for areas that have not reached an EXTREME Fire Danger Rating. 

Anyone who breaches a Total Fire Ban declaration is subject to heavy legal penalties including large fines and even imprisonment.

Find out what you can and can't do on days of Total Fire Ban.

Fire Danger Period restrictions

The Fire Danger Period is when the CFA restricts the use of fire in the community. This is to help prevent fires from starting.

CFA declares the Fire Danger Period in each Council at different times in the lead-up to the fire season. It depends on the amount of rain, grassland curing rate and other locations. Fire Danger Period restrictions remain in place until the fire danger lessens.

The Declared Fire Danger Period for Horsham Rural City Council terminated at 0100 hours on Monday 15 April 2024.

 Find out what you can and can't do during the Declared Fire Danger Period.

Plan and prepare

Bushfire survival plan
If you live or holiday near areas that have significant bush, forest, long grass or coastal scrub, you need to have a Bushfire Survival Plan in place. For more information, visit the CFA website.  

Property owners
Property owners have a responsibility to ensure they take the necessary steps to reduce bushfire risk on their property, and to reduce the risk of injury or damage to other people 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 or 03 5382 9777.

Council properties
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 or 03 5382 9777.

Wartook Fire Ready Guide
The Wimmera Emergency Management Team has has developed a fire ready guide for the Wartook area which has an EXTREME bushfire risk because it's located in a valley surrounded by State and National Parks. Use this guide to help you and your family plan and prepare.

Neighbourhood Safer Places

A Neighbourhood Safer Place (also known as a Bushfire Place of Last Resort) is a place of last resort when all other bushfire plans have failed. The safest option is always to leave early!

If you go to a Neighbourhood Safer Place you need to be completely self sufficient. Make sure you bring food and water, protective clothing, mobile phone or radio, first aid and medication, and provision for pets. You may have to be there overnight or for many hours. 

Designated Neighbourhood Safer Places in Horsham Rural Council are:

Visit the CFA Website for further information on Neighbourhood Safer Places.


Bushfire planning by Council

Municipal Fire Management Sub-plan
The Municipal Fire Management Sub-plan identifies actions and responsibilities for various agencies including Council, in the management of fire risk within the municipality. The Municipal Fire Management Planning Sub-committee is responsible for preparing and maintaining the Municipal Fire Management Sub-plan under the leadership and guidance of the relevant fire services, and to make recommendations to the Municipal Emergency Management Committee.
Municipal Fire Management Sub-plan 2023-26

Roadside slashing program
Slashing of key roadsides and other areas to assist in mitigating the risk associated with bushfire is guided by the Municipal Fire Management Sub-plan and undertaken by Council in consultation with the CFA. VicRoads also assists by undertaking similar slashing works on all of its highways throughout the municipality. The Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (formerly DELWP) is responsible for bushfire mitigation works on public land within Horsham Rural City Council. These works are undertaken between September and December each, depending on weather conditions.

Property inspections and fire prevention notices
Prior to the Declared Fire Danger Period, Council's Municipal Fire Prevention Officers conduct property inspections throughout the municipality. Fire Prevention Notices are issued to residents where fuel reduction works such as mowing and spraying are required.

To report a property as a potential fire hazard, please complete and submit a customer request or contact the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer on or 03 5382 9777.

Fire Prevention Notices - Frequently Asked Questions(PDF, 467KB)


Permit to burn grass and stubble

Horsham Rural City Council no longer issues fire permits.

The CFA, Fire Rescue Victoria and Forest Fire Management Victoria have joined forces to create a one-stop-shop for all fire permit applications.

The Fire Permits Victoria website allows people to submit and manage fire permit applications in a more streamlined process during the fire season and on Total Fire Ban days that fall outside of the Declared Fire Danger Period. It also includes permits to burn stubble. 


Essential water replacement

The Country Fire Authority Act 1958 (s30 and s32) provides powers to the Country Fire Authority and the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (formerly DELWP) to take water from any waterway or any other water supply on public and private land for fire fighting 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 Essential water replacement form(PDF, 158KB) or visit the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action website.