Urban firebreak program

Where houses and the bush meet is where people and properties are most likely to be exposed to smoke, embers, radiant heat and direct flame during a bushfire. Risk to life and property is greatest in these areas.

Fuel Breaks are buffer areas along the edges of bushland reserves which join urban development. Vegetation in these areas is removed to reduce fire fuels to low levels. Fuel breaks provide some protection from fires and allow access for bushfire response and planned burning operations.

Each fuel break varies from site to site, depending on the slope of the land and the type of vegetation. Reducing fuel within a break does not mean all vegetation must be removed.  Current guidelines recommend some canopy trees be retained for protection from strong winds, radiant heat and flying embers. Most of the understorey and shrubs are removed but a small amount can be kept as clumps or islands. Ground cover is kept at a low height to prevent soil erosion.

The City annually maintains over 100 fuel breaks covering approximately 50 hectares across its bushland reserves. This work is undertaken each year, commencing in early summer, to keep fuel levels low.

View more information on the fuel break program on our planned burns and bushfire management activities page.

Placement of Fuel breaks (firebreaks)

The fuel breaks are designed to provide defendable space next to homes on properties adjoining City of Hobart bushland. If an adjoining property has enough defendable space inside its boundary, or there are no assets on the adjoining property requiring defendable space, there is no need to put in a firebreak.

Requesting Fuel breaks

The fuel break network is assessed periodically and alterations are made as required to ensure fuel breaks are appropriately managed. If you live next to a bush reserve and think a fuel break should be next to your boundary phone 03 6238 2591.

If you are building a new house, part of the planning and approvals process involves determining the required defendable space and making sure you have that within the boundaries of your property.

We have a policy that guides when new fuel breaks are established. It is used to manage the impacts of new bushfire hazard management areas established in the City’s bushland for the benefit of adjoining developments. The policy provides criteria for grounds for refusal, the extent of clearing, the apportioning of costs relating to the works and responsibilities for ongoing maintenance.

View the Establishment of Bushfire Hazard Management Areas in Bushland Reserves for New Developments policy.(PDF, 244KB)