Councils bushfire preparedness programs

What Council is doing to protect and prepare the community for bushfire

  • Council is taking a proactive role in emergency preparedness with support, education and awareness raising for the community, including for bushfire risks.
  • City of Ryde has an established, extensive network of Asset Protection Zones and Fire Trails which are maintained regularly. Asset Protection Zones ensure there is adequate setback between vegetation and dwellings to act as a buffer in times of fire.
  • Additional hazard reduction activities are regularly undertaken within Council reserves to minimise fuel load.
  • Council also participates in community education programs and is a member of the Lane Cove, Ryde, Willoughby, Hunter's Hill Bushfire Management Committee. This Committee is responsible for coordinating bushfire planning in the district, which includes a revised Bushfire Risk Management Plan which went on public exhibition in January and February 2020.
  • Our City Planning and Environment Directorate is responsible for ensuring that adequate fire protection measures are in place during the planning stages of new development and are all assessed according to the Rural Fire Act and regulation for Bushfire Prone Lands and Asset Protection Standards.

Council's role in relation to areas close to Lane Cove National Park and bushland in our City

  • Physical hazard reduction burns are undertaken at the nomination by the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS). These are supported by Council in areas identified under the RFS-gazetted bushfire prone land map and risk management plans where areas are deemed at highest risk for possible fire run or threat. Council does not undertake these burns but provides support to enable them to occur.
  • Council manages these areas through operational works programs to maintain separation clearances from residential areas to bush, through active bush regeneration contracts and volunteer support via Bushcare groups.
  • Under climate change, conditions have become more conducive to bushfires and the challenges of managing fuel loads have increased. Outside of asset protection zones, Council does not remove natural material from the bushland floor. Reported perceived fire risks reported to council are individually assessed to determine if nominated ‘threats’ are deemed as high-risk threat and then treated accordingly. These natural areas are critical for both habitat and are a food source for native animals and it is not practical nor realistic to remove all leaf litter from 205 hectares of bushland areas as this will not entirely prevent fire or fire spread.  Attack and spread from ember attack has been identified as a higher risk in current climatic conditions.
  • Management for bushfire is both complex and layered in its approach and Council prioritises risk to life as a priority in managing asset protection and natural areas management programs to minimise these threats.

Council's role in reducing the risk of bushfires impacting our parks and playgrounds

  • The vast majority of Council parks and playgrounds are not located on land identified as bushfire prone by the NSW RFS. The manner in which Council manages its land is detailed within the respective adopted plan of management documents applicable to that land area.
  • These documents reference Council’s requirement to comply with relevant legislation and State Environmental Planning Policies, which require Council to comply with any action that the relevant authority deemed necessary to undertake in regard to any hazard reduction burning or vegetation clearing.
  • The plans of management refer to service level agreements that specify the maintenance activities undertaken within the parks and their frequency.  Maintenance activities include the removal of dumped material, regular mowing, pruning and removal of dead dying and diseased plants/trees and general maintenance of garden beds.  All these activities reduce the risk of bushfires impacting on these parks.

Council support for residents and properties with bushfire risk