Managing native vegetation after a bushfire emergency
This information is provided as guidance to landholders on management of native vegetation in rural areas after a bushfire emergency has passed.
A bushfire emergency is one which endangers or threatens the safety or health of people or animals, destroys or damages property or causes essential services to fail or be significantly disrupted.
Can I remove a tree or other living native vegetation that may be presenting a safety risk following a bushfire?
Landholders can clear native vegetation, including trees, considered reasonably necessary to remove or reduce an imminent risk of serious personal injury or damage to property. Such clearing should be undertaken to the minimum extent necessary.
Options for managing woody native regrowth and for thinning native vegetation following a bushfire are covered by usual land management rules under the Land Management Framework.
For further advice on these options, please call Local Land Services on 1300 795 299 or contact your nearest Local Land Services office.
What can I do to ‘clean up’ burnt vegetation including fallen timber following a bushfire?
Any timber that has fallen and is on the ground can be removed.
A tree that is still standing may be removed if it is reasonably necessary to remove or reduce an imminent risk of serious personal injury or damage to property.
Lopping parts of the tree damaged by the fire is permitted.
A tree that is burnt but alive and does not pose an imminent risk is subject to the usual land management rules.
Can I remove standing 'dead' vegetation?
A tree may be removed if it is reasonably necessary to remove or reduce an imminent risk of serious personal injury or damage to property. In non-emergency situations and where there is no risk to people or property, the usual land management rules apply.
If a dead tree is on vulnerable regulated land (e.g. on a steep slope or in a riparian zone) approval may be required to remove it and you should seek advice from your nearest Local Land Services office.
Landholders are encouraged not to clear ‘dead’ trees until they are sure the trees will not naturally regenerate. This can take months, depending on weather conditions. Most native vegetation is well adapted to survive fire, especially mature Eucalypt species.
For advice or to arrange a property visit to help you make the right decision please contact Local Land Services on 1300 795 299 or call into your nearest Local Land Services office.
Can I clear burnt groundcover?
Where native groundcover has been burned, landholders are required to give it an opportunity to regrow. Burning is not considered authorised clearing, meaning that burnt groundcover is subject to usual land management rules, unless otherwise authorised.
Landholders are encouraged to contact their Local Land Services office for advice on their specific circumstances.
What if I need to clear non-burnt vegetation to get to an area impacted by the fire?
You can clear a track on your property, to the minimum extent necessary without needing approval. Maximum track widths of 15 metres in the Coastal Zone, 30 metres in the Central Zone and 40 metres in the Western Zone apply.
For information on the zones and allowable activities, see the Allowable Activities for Landholders fact sheet.
What can I do with native vegetation following a bushfire if my property is not zoned rural?
Landholders in non-rural areas should contact their local council to conduct an inspection of the affected vegetation.
Where can I get more information?
Local Land Services offers local support to landholders in the prevention, preparedness, response and recovery stages of a bushfire emergency.
We are on hand to offer advice and up-to-date information. Contact us on 1300 795 299 or call into your nearest Local Land Services office.
Further fact sheets are available including Managing native vegetation to prepare for bushfires and Managing native vegetation during a bushfire emergency.
The information provided here refers to land classified as regulated rural areas. If you are not sure of the classification of your land, contact Local Land Services on 1300 795 299 or call into your nearest Local Land Services office.
Native vegetation is any plants native to NSW including trees, understorey plants, groundcover and plants occurring in a wetland. A plant is native to NSW if it was established in NSW before European settlement.