Bushfire prevention and planning

Information about the City of Greater Geelong's role in bushfire prevention and planning, and what you can do to help yourself.

The City of Greater Geelong’s role

Fire management planning is a shared responsibility between the state government, regional agencies such as the Country Fire Authority (CFA), and local councils.

Together, these bodies put in place strategies and plans to help prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from fire.

The City of Greater Geelong has a dedicated Emergency Management unit to help us meet our responsibilities and protect our community from fire.

The City’s role includes:

  • Developing and maintaining emergency management plans for the region, including a Municipal Fire Management Plan. This is done in partnership with other emergency services agencies.
  • Carrying out proactive fire prevention planning through the Municipal Fire Management Planning Committee, which also includes representatives from the CFA, State Emergency Service (SES) and Victoria Police.
  • Working with the CFA on removal or reduction of fire risks or hazards.
  • Carrying out an annual fire season inspection program between November and March. This program sees City of Greater Geelong staff issuing around 2000 fire prevention notices on vacant land that is deemed a fire risk. Where the owner of the property fails to respond, we hire a contractor to carry out the work needed.
  • Implementing and regulating planning overlay controls to address risks to properties such as fire and flood.
  • Supporting the CFA with resources when responding to fires (such as supplying graders, water carts and other heavy equipment).
  • Inspecting and issuing approximately 1700 permits to burn outside the fire danger period.
  • Issuing CFA Schedule 13 permits to farmers to allow burning of stubble.

Roadside maintenance

We strive to keep rural roadsides clear of long grass and vegetation to help prevent fires and protect roads and communities.

The City of Greater Geelong is responsible for maintaining roadsides along council-owned roads, while VicRoads is responsible for maintaining vegetation along roadsides of roads owned by VicRoads.

An annual maintenance schedule of slashing and roadside maintenance aims to make sure traffic sight lines are clear for safe travel and that roadside vegetation doesn’t increase the fire risk.

Council staff maintain over 1,100 kilometres of roadside across the Greater Geelong region, with a first round of slashing beginning in late spring each year so that it is finished before Christmas.

We then carry out inspections in January and re-slash as needed. We will also respond to requests from residents. If you are concerned about long grass or fire risks in your area, you can log a service request here or phone 5272 5272.

Council-owned public recreation reserves are maintained year-round by our Parks and Gardens team. 

This summer there is more growth than usual in the Geelong region due to an increase in rainfall towards the end of 2019 and the warmer weather over the past month.

The City is working hard to continue fire prevention measures such as issuing fire prevention notices and maintaining roadside vegetation as a matter of high priority.

What you can do

We encourage all members of the Greater Geelong community to:

  • take note of fire danger rating forecasts for Victoria via the Bureau of Meteorology;  
  • adhere strictly to the law on days of Total Fire Ban; and
  • Visit the VicEmergency website or download the app for timely information and warnings.

There are several other steps you can take to prepare yourself, your loved ones and your property for a fire.

Follow the CFA’s ‘plan and prepare’ guide for advice on what to do before and during a fire. It includes tips for:

  • preparing your property via landscaping, maintenance and home improvements;
  • understanding your level of risk (you don’t have to live in the country to be at risk of a fire);
  • preparing a bushfire plan: what Fire Danger Rating will be your trigger to leave? Where will you go? What route will you take? What do you need to organise for your pets and livestock? How will you stay informed and who do you need to keep informed?
  • how to give yourself the best chance of survival if you are caught in a fire.

Monitoring air quality

The EPA website is the best place to find up-to-date information and advice about air quality.

Poor air quality can affect people differently depending on age, pre-existing medical conditions and the duration of exposure.

In the event of poor air quality, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Dr BrettSutton, advises:

  • People with heart and lung conditions (including asthma), pregnant women, children and people over 65 are most sensitive – these people in particular should minimise their exposure to smoke.
  • Symptoms of smoke exposure may include: cough (or worsening of cough); nose, throat and eye irritation or worse for more vulnerable people such as tightness in the chest and shortness of breath.
  • For asthmatics, activate your asthma management plan, and if you don’t have one, see your GP.
  • Visit a GP if you are experiencing symptoms or call 000 if your symptoms are serious.
  • In general: avoid exercise, stay indoors, and find a space where smoke exposure is at the lowest levels (for example, a public facility with air conditioning).
    Close your home to outside air (shut all windows and doors).

Page last updated: Wednesday, 8 January 2020