About Asset Protection Zones

Reviews of significant bush fires generally find that properties well-prepared for bush fire threats suffer less damage and loss than those that are not. A major part of this preparation includes establishing an Asset Protection Zone (APZ).

An Asset Protection Zone (APZ) is an area of very low fuel levels and managed gardens and vegetation close to a house that lessen the impact of an advancing bush fire.

Standards for APZs are outlined in detail in the Shire’s Firebreaks and Fuel Load Notice.

Example of a good APZ

The illustration below shows some suggestions for maintaining a good APZ, however a Shire of Mundaring Fire Hazard Inspection Officer can visit your home and give some advice on how to establish or maintain a good APZ.

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It is acknowledged that established properties may have vegetation and garden features that have been cultivated over many years which pre-date research into the requirements of a good APZ.

With careful management and sound advice it is still possible to establish an APZ without necessarily having to remove living vegetation or carrying out significant ground works / vegetation modifications. 

How does an APZ work?

Bush fires spread and increase in intensity by consuming any available fuel in their path. In most cases homes are damaged or lost due to the radiant heat and embers caused by nearby fires, so to minimise the impact on your home your best defence is to reduce the amount of fuel close to your house. 

In this case fuels consist primarily of leaf litter, small twigs and bark at ground level or suspended in the lower parts of trees and shrubs. By removing the fuels from close to your home and keeping the fuel levels below two tonnes per hectare you are effectively starving the fire and reducing the likelihood of damage.

Managing fuel loads

You can rake and remove the ground fuels, burn them in piles during approved burning times, or compost the leaf litter and use it in other areas of your garden. Under-pruning shrubs and trees close to your home and managing dead and dry material suspended in shrubs is also a good way to reduce fuel loads.

Good management of fuel levels does not necessarily mean you have to remove trees and shrubs. In most cases managing ground level fuels and some pruning of shrubs and trees is sufficient.

Shrub management in a good APZ

Keeping the lower branches of shrubs clear of the ground is important in maintaining a good APZ, as well as keeping the plant free of dead and suspended litter including bark and twigs. This limits the opportunity for fire to reach the foliage and progress from shrub to shrub.

Fire Hazard Inspection Officers

A free Shire service is available to help identify potential fire hazards on your property and to develop plans aimed at managing those risks.

The Fire Hazard Inspection Officers can provide advice on:

  • How to identify bush fire risks that exist on your property and how to manage those risks
  • Fuel load measurement and management 
  • Preparing your property for bush fires including shrub pruning and vegetation management advice
  • Winter hazard reduction burning training 
  • How to establish a Bushfire Ready Group in your area
  • Ensuring your property complies with the Shire’s Firebreak and Fuel Load Notice.

More information and contact

For enquiries or to arrange a site visit call 9290 6696 or email firesafety@mundaring.wa.gov.au.