Bushfire is a natural part of our environment and the landscape in which we live. Every year the bushfire season (1st October to 31st March) sees many bushfire incidents occur along the eastern seaboard of Australia (click here for current Bushfire Danger Map). Some seasons are worse than others. Most people will recall the devastating Canberra bushfires of January 2003. These particular fires claimed some 500 houses and severely damaged 70% of the ACT’s pasture, parks and forests.
While fires of this magnitude and destructive power are rare, bushfires of smaller proportions can still have a devastating effect upon a family or a community. Since the traumatic loss of life and property in the 2009 Victorian bushfires, governments, both state and federal, have acted to enhance existing legislation and procedures, which help to mitigate the losses that may occur during a bushfire incident.
Some of this legislation concerns the development of land and the construction of new structures, including additions and extensions in declared Bushfire Prone Areas. These legislative changes are reflected in the BCA (Building Code of Australia) AS 3959 2009 (Construction of buildings in bushfire prone areas) and in NSW, the RFS publication, PBP 2006 (Planning for Bushfire Protection).