Requirements for DA's on Bush Fire Prone Land

All development applications (DAs) on bushfire prone land must be accompanied by a Bushfire Assessment Report. The assessment report determines the suitability of a proposal in regard to bushfire by consideration of the requirements of the Planning for Bushfire Protection document prepared by the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS).

From 25 February 2011 all DAs on bush fire prone land will require a Bush Fire Risk Assessment and certification prepared by a suitably qualified consultant before they can be determined.

Council is no longer able to refer applications directly to the RFS for their consideration due to amendments to Section 79BA of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

A Bush Fire Risk Assessment and certification shall be prepared by a person recognised by the RFS as a qualified consultant in bush fire risk assessment. The report and certification will state the applicable Bush Fire Attack Levels (BAL) that apply and the relevant Asset Protection Zones (APS) required, ensuring that development conforms to the relevant specifications and requirements.

Applications lodged with Council that do not meet the necessary requirements will experience significant processing delays.

Only DAs that are Integrated Development, within a flame zone or do not comply with relevant specifications and requirements of the Planning for Bush Fire Protection Guidelines (as identified by your recognised bush fire consultant) will be referred to the RFS.

Integrated Development

Certain types of development on bushfire prone land are identified as integrated development and must be referred to the Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service for consideration.

These types of development are identified within Clause 100B of the Rural Fires Act 1997 and include:

  • Subdivision of bushfire prone land that can be used for residential or rural residential purposes, and
  • the use of bushfire prone land for the following purposes:

-      a school

-      a child care centre

-      a hospital (including a hospital for the mentally ill or mentally disordered)

-      a hotel, motel or other tourist accommodation

-      a building wholly or principally used as a home or other establishment for mentally incapacitated persons

-      seniors housing within the meaning of State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for Seniors or People with a Disability) 2004

-      a group home within the meaning of State Environmental Planning Policy No 9 - Group Homes

-      a retirement village

-      any other purpose prescribed by the Rural Fires Regulation 2008.

All DAs for Integrated Development must include 3 additional copies of all documents and incur an additional fee of $320 which must be made out to the NSW Rural Fire Service.

More information

Read more on the changes on the NSW RFS website

Find an accredited consultant on the Fire Protection Association of Australia website

Read the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment Act 2008 No 36


The revised Australian Standard AS 3959 - 2009 Bushfire Code covers the design and construction requirements for residential construction in designated bushfire risk locations. The AS 3959 - 2009 revision is the standard that sets out the minimum construction requirements for each of five levels of defined Bushfire Hazard. This is determined by completing a threat matrix that looks at vegetation types and proximity and slope of the land.

The new Australian standard replaces the previous Levels 1, 2 and 3 Construction as applied by Rural Fire Service, with new BAL (Bush fire Attack Level) categories. There are five new categories: BAL12.5 (lowest risk) through to BAL40 and BALFZ (flame zone). In NSW, a state specific variation is applied to the national standard (AS3959).

Contact Details

  • Environment & Planning Department
  • Phone: 02 48 301 000
  • Facsimile: 02 48 301 045
  • Email: