Fire and emergency management

This page provides information about fire safety and emergency management in the City of Stirling.

Bushfires

The City of Stirling is committed to ensuring its community is safe and the threat of fire is minimal from 30 November 2022 to and including 31 March 2023. Situated in the southern hemisphere, bushland is most prone to risk from November to March - early spring to late Autumn months.

Bushfire has the potential to occur throughout a bushland area at any time of the year, however bushfire activity is most likely to occur within certain seasonal weather patterns.

Bushfires can ignite due to varied reasons, however the two main reasons are extreme weather and arson attacks. The City of Stirling regularly conducts bushfire mitigation activities throughout the City to lower risk and consequence of bushfires that occur on City land. Mitigation activities include:

  • Weed control
  • Removal of excessive dead vegetation
  • Fire break installation and maintenance
  • Track upgrades and maintenance for emergency services.

Fuel loads

Fuel is considered dried grass, leaf litter, fine twigs, strappy bark. As the weather increasingly becomes warmer, the humidity lowers combined with little rain, the vegetation dries out becoming more flammable.

Fuels dry out after the winter rain, the heat intensifies, with surges of hot air from the East leads to dangerous fire weather conditions. Weather conditions influence the size, intensity, speed, and predictability of bushfires and how dangerous they can be to the community. Vegetation growth increase during and after periods of wet weather, increasing the amount of fuel available.

Climate

Strong gusty winds fan the flames and may cause a fire to spread across the landscape. Strong winds can carry hot embers long distances - these can start spot fires kilometres ahead of the main fire front. A change in wind direction can bring a period of dangerous bushfire activity, this is often seen as a trough or cold front - also known as a cool change. In southern Australia specifically, cold fronts are probably the most powerful influence on our fire weather. Cold fronts occur at the junction of warm and cold air masses where the strong temperature contrast provides the energy source that generates the frequently associated strong winds.

Climate change is directly influencing the frequency and severity of bushfire conditions in Australia and around the world, through influencing temperature, environmental moisture, weather patterns and fuel conditions. Observations in southern Australia include more extreme conditions during summer, as well as an earlier start to the bushfire season with dangerous weather conditions occurring significantly earlier in spring than they used to.

Ember attacks

Ember attack Ember attack occurs before, during and after a fire front passes. Embers are pieces of burning bark, leaves or twigs that are carried by the wind around the main fire creating spot fires and can be carried over 25kms from a fire. Embers can land in areas such as your garden, uncovered evaporative air-conditioners, alfresco decking, under or in the gutters of your home and could cause your house to catch fire.

Radiant heat

Radiant heat exposure During a bushfire the surrounding temperatures may increase to extreme levels. Exposure to this heat, even from a distance can cause injury through heat burns, heat exhaustion, heart failure and in extreme cases death. To avoid radiant heat exposure, it is important that you include water in your emergency kit and consider your evacuation plan to consider alternative shelter.

Weed spread

Weeds can be highly inflammable and are invasive to the natural environment. Regularly weeding your property helps to reduce fuel load build-up and the potential spread of invasive weeds into bushland reserves. Weeding also facilitates the regeneration of native species and encourages a healthy balanced ecosystem.

Tree pruning guidelines for property boundaries

Overgrown vegetation from properties adjacent to bushland reserves is considered a safety risk. It is the responsibility of residents to prune vegetation that extends from their property into a bushland reserve or existing fire break area. The City recommends contacting a professional arborist in the instance of large tree management. Residents are responsible for correctly disposing of all pruning waste. Where bushland reserve vegetation extends into the property of a resident, please contact the City of Stirling.

There are some areas within the City of Stirling that are considered to be more bushfire prone than others, the bushfire prone area map can be found here. Australia has a national fire danger rating system (AFDR) that is determined daily, the AFDR uses four easy to recognise ratings, each with a message to encourage you to take action to protect yourself and others when at risk of bushfire. It is each person’s responsibility to monitor conditions and official sources for fire warnings, in addition to adhering to local regulations and relevant industry guidelines governing fire activity. More information on AFDR’s can be found here.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Service (DFES) encourage residents that reside near a bushfire prone area to become bushfire prepared and implement a fireproof plan, more information on creating a fireproof plan can be found here https://mybushfireplan.wa.gov.au.

A fire preparedness checklist can be downloaded here.

Arson

Rewards of up to $50,000 are offered for reporting information that leads to the identification and conviction of arsonists. The rewards are made available through the State Government and the Insurance Council of Australia’s Arson Reward Scheme.

Seen something? Know something? Say something. Help catch arsonists before they strike.

If you observe any suspicious behaviour, call 000 immediately. If you suspect someone of arson or fire lighting, make a report online here or call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

All information received is treated in the strictest of confidence.

Did you know?

People who commit bushfire arson are not always strangers. They often live and work in local communities. If you have concerns about a member of your family, a friend, or a colleague, they might need help.

For more information on arson check out DFES’s website.

Find out today's total fire bans
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Firebreaks and safety

To protect our reserves and infrastructure, the City requires firebreaks to be installed. A firebreak is an area cleared of flammable material such as wood, leaves and grass to minimise the outbreak and spread of fire. It also provides vehicle access.  

Fire safety requirements for homeowners

Land owners and occupiers in the City of Stirling are required to install firebreaks on their property from 30 November 2022 and must maintain them up to and including 31 March 2023. 

To understand your full responsibilities and options available, please refer to the Bush Fires Act and Firebreak Notice 2022 - 2023.

Land area less than 2,000m2

All owners and occupiers must slash/mow all grass to a height no greater than five centimetres and remove all slashed matter and other flammable material from the land.

Land area greater than 2,000m2 

All owners and occupiers must install a continuous firebreak of three metres wide and four metres high, clear of all bush and flammable material around all structures and along all external boundaries of the land.

Fire preparedness and firebreak requirements

Did you know? 

Firebreaks must be cleared by 30 November and kept clear until 31 March each year.

Non-compliance may result in an on-the-spot fine of $250. The City will arrange for a contractor to undertake the works required, and the costs will be recovered from the property owner.

Being prepared

Being prepared and knowing how to respond in the event of an emergency can help save valuable time, keep you safe, and reduce adverse impacts on you, your family and your home.

Follow these steps to help prepare you for an emergency:

  1. Develop an emergency plan Learn more about the risks and hazards that exist in your area and consider what you would do if you had to leave your house in a hurry. Prepare a plan and discuss it with the people around you: your family members, children, neighbours. Don’t forget to think about your pets.
  2. Put together a grab bag A grab bag is a small backpack of important items to take with you in the event you must leave your house with little warning. Essential items to include are a torch, first aid kit, warm clothes, some cash, toiletries and medications, a list of contact numbers, spare keys, and electronic copies of any important documents.
  3. Know how to respond Understand what emergencies may affect you, who you would contact, and where you could find up-to-date information. Consider if you should safely evacuate from your property or neighbourhood or shelter in place when an emergency occurs. Make sure you know what is happening around you and where is safe to go. Check the Emergency WA website or tune in to AM radio: 720 ABC or 882 6PR to be informed of any relevant emergency updates.
  4. Learn more

Fire danger rating and burning restrictions

Understanding the environment around you is an important part of being prepared. The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) has a fire danger rating website that will help you to be bushfire-ready.

Burning off (also known as backyard burning) and the use of incinerators are unlawful practices within the City of Stirling. Solid fuel barbeques must only be used for cooking. Solid fuel fires must not be lit on days rated from ‘Very High’ to ‘Catastrophic’.  

Total fire bans may be imposed by DFES and prohibit the lighting of any fires in the open air and any other activities that may start a fire. The ban includes all open-air fires for cooking or camping. It also includes incinerators, welding, grinding, soldering or gas cutting.

For more information, please visit the DFES website.

Lodge a bush fire infringement appeal application
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Emergency management

In event of an emergency, the main role of the City of Stirling is to manage the local community recovery.

Emergency management involves the structures, arrangements and plans established to pull together the efforts of government, voluntary and private agencies, in a comprehensive and coordinated way to deal with all emergency or disaster needs.

The Emergency Management Arrangements and Local Recovery Plan are currently under review. The approval process will be completed by the end of 2022.

For more information on how to best prepare for disasters such as fires, storms, hazardous material incidents and traffic crashes, please visit the Department of Fire and Emergency Services websitePlease note, in a life-threatening emergency phone triple zero (000).

Potential hazards within the City of Stirling

Heatwaves

Stay hydrated

You should drink two to three litres of water a day even if you don't feel thirsty. Avoid 'fizzy', alcoholic and caffeinated drinks and do not take salt tablets (unless instructed to by a GP).

Dress for summer

Lightweight, light coloured clothing reflects heat and sunlight and helps your body maintain a normal temperature.

Check on those at risk

Visit at risk individuals such as the sick and elderly at least twice a day and keep an eye on children. Watch for signs of heat-related illness.

Minimise sun exposure

Keep out of the sun as much as possible. If you must be in the sun, wear a shirt, hat and sunglasses. Also make sure you wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn, which limits the body's ability to cope with heat.

Prepare your home

Prepare your home early. Service or replace your air conditioner BEFORE you need it. Curtains, awnings and blinds can also help to keep the home cool.

Make use of air conditioning

If you don't have air conditioning, make use of public facilities such as shopping centres, art galleries, cinemas or other air conditioned buildings. Portable fans are also useful in drawing in cool air, or exhausting warm air from a room.

Remember your pets

Pets can be particularly vulnerable to the heat. Make sure they have shade and plenty of cool water to last the day.

Seek medical advice if necessary

For medical advice contact your local GP or telephone Healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222. For immediate medical assistance telephone Triple Zero / 000.

Storms

Dangerous storms are the most common natural hazard in Australia and on average, cause more damage and destruction than cyclones, earthquakes, floods and bushfires.

Storms cause damage to homes, property and businesses, and also pose a threat to people, animals and the environment.

The financial and community cost can be reduced with better planning and by preparing your home and family to stay safe and reduce potential storm damage.

For more information, please visit the Department of Fire and Emergency Services website.  

Fires

Bushfires in WA account for the majority of fires attended to by career and volunteer fire-fighters.

The DFES Fire Investigation and Analysis Unit also supports operational fire crews to establish the origin and cause of all fires attended. The unit also works closely with the police arson squad to identify the cause of all suspicious and deliberately-lit fires.

For more information, see the information below or please visit the Department of Fire and Emergency Services website.

Floods

Western Australia is the largest state in Australia with a wide range of weather conditions and seasonal changes that increase the potential for flooding.

If you live in a flood-prone region, then you need to prepare for this possibility.

Some household insurance policies do not provide flood cover, so you need to prepare your family and home to minimise damage and ensure their safety.

For more information, please visit the Department of Fire and Emergency Services website.  

Hazardous materials

Every year Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) officers attend and control a range of hazardous material (HAZMAT) incidents. These can involve:

  • Explosives
  • Compressed gases
  • Flammable liquids and gases
  • Poisons
  • Corrosive substances
  • Radioactive materials
  • Infectious materials.

Containing hazardous materials is a complex and challenging task which requires a range of response methods to ensure community safety and protect the environment.

For more information, please visit the Department of Fire and Emergency Services website.

City of Stirling Local Emergency Management Committee

The Local Emergency Management Committee (LEMC) has been established by the City to ensure that local emergency management arrangements are established, tested and reviewed with assistance from the relevant public authorities. Members of the LEMC include City of Stirling Councillors and staff, as well as representatives from the Fire and Emergency Services Authority WA, St John Ambulance, WA Police, WA Department of Health, the Stirling State Emergency Service Unit and the Department for Communities. Please note, the LEMC's role is not operational or one of response. 

For more information, please contact the Emergency Management Coordinator at emergencymanagement@stirling.wa.gov.au.