The Malua Bay Rural
Fire Brigade is an “urban interface” brigade that is the first local response agency to house fires, bush fires and motor vehicle accidents
in the Lilli Pilli, Malua Bay, Rosedale, Guerilla Bay localities as well as surrounding areas. In the12 months leading up to the end of June 2014 the brigade attended a total of 34 incidents - they were
Fire (Bush/Grass/Structural) 17
Motor Vehicle Accidents 8
Supporting Other Agencies (Police/Ambulance/SES) 5
False Alarm - (Good Intent) 4
"Off Season" - Winter
There are two distinct seasons for the Malua Bay Rural Fire Brigade the most important is the summer high risk bush fire season where the brigade has to be ready to respond to open area fires very quickly. The second season is the winter months or "off season" when we focus on more urban issues locally, support other agencies, undertake training, get ready for next season and help residents prepare their properties in advance of next fire season.
Acknowledging these quite distinct seasonal differences our website also changes and we offer an off season perspective. The associated threads will take you to information that concentrates on getting your property and family plans ready and bedded in, in a calm and structured fashion. The information we provide also offers some rationales of why we do certain things. To let you see the sorts of issues and information that are of critical importance in the fire season we have maintained a link that will take you to the dedicated summer season threads. It will give a broader understanding of the scope of what are prominent concerns at that time. With a whole of year view you will be able to make the best preparations and plans.
Some Considerations in Getting Ready
When you are preparing your house and property for the next fire season some quick things to keep in mind.
Myth There will always
be a fire truck available
to fight a bush fire
threatening my home.
Fact There will never be as many
fire trucks as there are houses.
Do not depend on a fire truck
being available at your home. This means your house and property may need to weather the fire front without assistance.
When a fire front is approaching an area and brigades turn up they have some priorities in how they go about responding to the situation and these are in order (1) the welfare and safety of the fire crew, (2) saving people and lives, (3) saving property and (4) returning to normality - that is suppressing the fire. Initial things they will be looking at on arrival are safe refuge areas, easy access in and out of the area and around dwellings along with available resources, particularly water.
Also if a fire front is threatening a group of houses and there are not enough crews to attend to all threats at once the brigade crew leaders will apply a classification process to allocating resources called property triage. That is the logical order in which they select houses to defend - the classification categories are (1) those houses and surrounds that are not under immediate threat, (2) those houses and surrounds that are well prepared and defendable and (3) those houses and surrounds that are not well prepared and cannot be defended. Resources will be directed to the defendable first.
So it is of paramount importance for you to know how to prepare and constantly maintain your house, surrounding buildings and property to be in a defendable position for an approaching fire front.
To assist you in preparing your house and property there is a section of this website dedicated to being emergency ready and within that site there is a page on preparing your property which includes points, thoughts and links to other sites to help on getting ready.
An Important Restriction
When preparing your property and land you need to be aware that the lighting of fires in the open in the Malua Bay Brigade Area are covered by two separate pieces of Legislation. Most commonly people would be well aware of not lighting fires on a day of total fire ban and the need to get a fire permit during the statutory Bush Fire Danger Period which usually runs from 1 October to 31 March, (this declaration period may be changed depending on seasonal conditions). These rules are set out in the Rural Fires Act.
It is wise, even if you are not required to have a permit to notify the brigade of your plans to light a fire it lets the brigade know and saves crews being turned out to false alarms.
However in the Eurobodalla Shire Area there are added overriding restrictions related to being able to burn any material in the open at any time. This restriction applies whether it is a Fire Danger Period or not.
In order to protect public health and amenity in residential and rural residential areas the follow restrictions apply
- The burning of all waste including vegetation on all land zoned for urban purposes under the Eurobodalla Local Environmental Plan 2012 is prohibited.
- Any person residing in an area to which a domestic waste management service is available is prohibited from burning domestic waste on those premises.
- People residing on land currently zoned for rural purposes under the Eurobodalla Local Environmental Plan 2012 or Eurobodalla Rural Local Environment Plan 1997 may burn dead and dry vegetation on premises within those zones, subject to a set of Council conditions—those conditions are
• Burning must take place by such practicable means as are necessary to prevent or minimise air pollution.
• Permission from the owner of the property must be obtained prior to burning.
• Vegetation must only be burnt on the premises on which it grew.
• Every attempt must be made to recycle or reuse vegetation prior to burning. Recycling techniques include but are not limited to mulching, composting, milling, and use as fuel for heating purposes. Only the residue from recycling and reuse can be burnt.
• Burning must only take place during dry weather conditions, taking into account the potential for smoke impacting on any person due to wind direction and other climatic conditions.
• Burning must not take place where other persons are likely to be unduly impacted.
• Burning must not take place less than 200 metres from land zoned for urban purposes under the
Eurobodalla Local Environmental Plan 2012.
• Burning must not take place as the result of an activity requiring development consent, unless prior
consent has been obtained.
• Subject to any provisions of the Eurobodalla Local Environmental Plan 2012.
Where these conditions cannot be met burning must not take place and an individual approval must be sought from council.
10/50 Vegetation Clearing Rules
Over the years the rules around clearing or being able to clear private land particularly is built up areas has been governed by rules set by each Council and varied dramatically from Local Government area to Local Government area. Some times those rules were onerous and restrictive depending on the attitudes to the scope of environmental protection that Councils put in place on behalf of its ratepayers.
To offer a state wide standard the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Scheme was introduced following the devastating 2013 bush fires in which more than 200 properties were destroyed. The NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS), in partnership with the Department of Planning and Environment, introduced the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Scheme.
If you live in an area close to the bush and you need to prepare your home the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Scheme gives an additional way of being better prepared for bush fires. The scheme allows property owner in a designated area to:
- Clear trees on their property within 10 metres of a home, without seeking approval; and
- Clear underlying vegetation such as shrubs (but not trees) on their property within 50 metres of a home, without seeking approval.
You can find out if your property is in a 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area using the RFS online tool. Once you have established which entitlement area you are in there is a 10/50 Code of Practice that you will need to comply with.
One of the important things you need to do during the fire season is to keep informed of weather condition, emergency alerts and changing updates. In the weather watch section we offer a cluster of web sites links to assist you to quickly assess the prevailing conditions and their impact on fire potential and intensity. These are sites will give you up to date information on the fire situation, fire declarations and a quick means to follow developing weather conditions. It is worth becoming familiar with the updates and how they change before the fire season comes.
Interested in Joining Our Brigade
Joining the Malua Bay Rural Fire Brigade is an excellent way to become involved in your local community, be part of a great team and when needed support other regions and communities. One of the functions of this website is to help you get a feel for who we are and what we do. Any of our members would be happy to talk to you about the brigade and what we do.
While at the local level fire fighting roles are the main attraction there are a multitude of areas that require volunteer support not only at the local level but within the Far South Coast Team, Bega and Eurobodalla Rural Fire Districts and across NSW. So if you have thought that you would like to be part of the brigade but maybe not sure of your fitness now or in coming years to be an active firefighter there are many ancillary roles you can fill - it is often said that for every firefighter at the fire front there is another person covering vital support roles. Things like communications, catering, logistics, training, planning and aviation support are critical support roles. Check out our join us section or if you a looking at a possible support role look at the EVOS section.
Items of interest
Periodically we include a changing section dedicated to things of interest that we do or that need to be addressed. The item below covers one important aspect of water sourcing within the built up area of the brigade. As the items of interest will change over time there is a dedicated section
to past featured items to offer a long term understanding of special concerns that allow us quickly and effectively respond in times of emergency.
Hydrants are Important
In October 2013 brigade members started a review of the readiness of all fire
hydrants in the Malua Bay Brigade area to ensure that should there be a
fire threat in your immediate area that we know not only where the hydrants are but
also whether they are working properly. A year later we concluded those inspections and are now revisiting those hydrants that had issues. As we went we found some buried under landscaping or
covered by shrubs and several buried under driveways. As fire hydrants are important
to protect houses and property it would be really helpful if owners could
know where the nearest hydrant is to them and that it is properly marked.
It is important to understand that
fire hydrants are the brigades main source of
water in the immediate vicinity of your property and knowing where they are
can mean the difference between saving a property or struggling. When we arrive at a fire and start attacking the fire we have at best 5 minutes of water under full discharge from the truck. Connecting to the hydrants quickly are critical and your knowledge of where hydrants are can help us at those times.
A fire hydrant is identified by a blue cats
eye marker on the road, along with a yellow arrow on the road pointing to
the hydrant which is usually below ground under a yellow coloured cover.
The fire hydrant is a direct fire fighting access
to the Council reticulated water supply so they are only available in built
If you could look around your area and see where
the hydrant is and if you have doubts about whether it is working send us
an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) indicating where it is, what the street
address is and what your concern is - we will then include that hydrant in
our inspection regime.
Maybe you could adopt a
hydrant and tell us where it is and keep an eye on it for us.
The brigade would like to acknowledge the great
response we have received from the Eurobodalla Shire Works Staff in
responding to repairs as we advise them of concerns. Great job guys, we
could not ask for more!