Public Land and Verges (Fire Management)

Public land

Shire Fire Protection Officers undertake a year-round program of bush fire mitigation inspections and works across all Shire reserves.

The works are prioritised and carried out on a risk management basis; that is with priority given to reserves where a fire risk to the surrounding community may exist.

These hazards are managed by a combination of methods including firebreak maintenance and construction, invasive weed management, and hazard reduction burns.

Fire Protection Officers also work closely with Friends groups and the Shires Environmental Services Officers to ensure that reserves are managed in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner.

A large portion of public lands in the Shire are managed by authorities such the Parks and Wildlife Service or Water Corporation, which the Shire has no management control over. For queries related to these lands, please contact the relevant responsible authority.

Find out more about Hazard Reduction Burns.

Managing verges

Shire of Mundaring has around 1300km of verges and does not have the capacity to manage the fuel loads of all verges.

Landowners are encouraged to include their verges as part of the fire hazard management plans for their own property.

Consent can also be sourced from the Shire’s Fire Control Officer to incorporate the burning of your abutting verge into your fuel load management strategy.

Controlling weeds on verges is a good way to reduce the hazard. Other methods of fuel reduction such as raking and removing accumulated leaf and twig materials can also help to reduce fuel loads.

Burning verges is an acceptable solution in some cases. Prior to burning, you need approval from the Shire’s Fire Control Officer. Refer to Permit to Burn.

Once permission is granted there are a number of important points to consider:

When to burn

If the fuel reduction burn is conducted during the Restricted Burning Period, a permit to burn will need to be issued by the local volunteer bush fire brigade.

Find out about Burning Periods and Fire Danger Ratings and Permits to Burn.

Safety and containment

The burning of verges poses various hazards which require addressing prior to any burning occurring as follows:

  • Smoke and direct flame impact on roads needs to be appropriately managed so as to ensure road users are not put at risk by the hazard reduction burn
  • Public infrastructure (eg telephone lines, road markers, power lines etc) needs to be protected with any damage to be reported immediately to the appropriate organisation so that repairs can occur (any costs associated with damage relating directly to the burn may be charged to the resident)
  • Private property needs to be protected and may have similar implications as above if damage is sustained
  • Insurance for third party liability needs to be held
  • Burning encourages weed growth, particularly on verges where weed infestation generally commences (ensure measures are in place prior to burning to ensure any weed regeneration is managed) - advice can be sought from the Shire’s Environmental Officers.

Are there services on the verge that may be damaged or affected by fire?

Power, water and telecommunications infrastructure is often located on street verges and the cost of any damage caused by an intentionally lit fire may be charged to the resident.

Call the Dial before you Dig number 1100 and look for any obvious signs like cables, poles, inspection hatches etc. before you light any fire.

Will the smoke from burning the verge affect visibility on the road?

Smoke from a ‘burn off’ can be very thick especially in areas where there are high fuel loads. Smoke drifting across a roadway can create very dangerous circumstances for yourself and road users so it is important to ensure that any decision to burn considers this.

Containing the fire

If your verge will burn, so will neighbouring verges if the fire is not contained within mineral earth firebreaks.

Thick layers of leaf litter and accumulated bark can smoulder for a long time and if the fire gets into this ‘peat like’ layer it can burn unnoticed under the surface until conditions are right for it to pop up again and reignite dryer loose fuel.

Breaks in the fuel layer are important to prevent the spread of the fire into areas that are to stay unburnt.

Environment and weed management

It is important to ensure measures are in place prior to burning to manage any weed regeneration.

Advice can be sought from the Shire’s environmental officers on dealing with weeds on verges.

Other regulations relating to native vegetation on verges exist so it is best to contact a Shire Environmental Services Officer at the Shire before carrying out any work that may impact on native plants on your verge.

Find out more about weed management.

Insurance

Make sure you are appropriately insured before using fire as a hazard management tool on your property.

More information and contact

Further advice on fire hazard management can be sought from your Local Bush Fire Brigade or by contacting the Shire on 9290 6696 or email firesafety@mundaring.wa.gov.au