Bushfire Assessments and Management Plans (Qld)

Bushfire management plansBushfire hazard assessment is currently in a state of flux with the repeal in late 2013 of the State Planning Policy 1/03: Mitigating the Adverse Impacts of Flood, Bushfire and Landslide and the replacement with a single State Planning Policy (SPP).

The SPP is supported by State interest guideline: Natural hazards, risk and resilience, which provides further context and explains how the SPP can be applied to local government planning schemes.

In terms of bushfire hazard assessment, the model assessment codes’ for local councils is currently under review. However, guidance has been provided by deferring to the Building Codes of Australia (BCA) and Australian Standard 3959-2009: Construction of

buildings in bushfire-prone areas.

The primary aim of the SPP is to direct that the role of local government planning schemes in relation to bushfire hazard development requirements will be limited to:

  • The lot layout
  • Property access
  • Management of open space (including protection of protected vegetation) and provision of bushfire management trails and
  • An adequate water supply for firefighting.

Many older planning schemes still refer to the bushfire hazard assessment methodology as detailed in the SPP 1/03 and will do so until the schemes are updated in line with the new planning framework. Some Councils have already adopted the SPP 1/03 methods into their planning schemes, such as Brisbane City.


The SPP is supported by new bushfire mapping prepared by the CSIRO, which replaces the old mapping modelled by the Rural Fire Service Queensland and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services in 2008.


The new mapping is based on a simple formula:


Potential Fire-line intensity (PFI)  = Vegetation hazard class (ie. Fuel load) x Maximum landscape slope x Fire Weather Severity (ie. Forest Fire Danger Index)


The outputs from the mapping as classified into several classes:


  • Bushfire Prone Area - an area with the potential to support a significant bushfire or the potential to be subject to significant bushfire attack
  • Very high potential bushfire intensity
  • High potential bushfire intensity
  • Medium potential bushfire intensity
  • Potential impact buffer
  • Grassfire Prone Area – an area that could support a significant grassfire

  • Low Hazard Area – an area unlikely to support a significant bushfire or grassfire.

Properties within the Bushfire Prone Area (and potentially Grassfire Prone Area) will generally require an assessment of Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) in accordance with Australian Standard 3959:2009.


The BAL assessment will determine the level of bushfire mitigation to be included in the building construction such as using different building materials and modifications to designs to withstand ember attack and radiant heat.


Regardless of which regime (SPP 1/03 or new single SPP) is in place, a site-specific assessment is often recommended to verify the accuracy of the bushfire hazard mapping and determine appropriate hazard ratings.


For further information on Bushfire Management Plans contact us on 1300 839 325 or email

Relevant link
View the State Planning Policy

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