In the suburbs

Do you work or visit the grassland/bushland areas around the city?

The ACT is fondly referred by many as the “Bush Capital”, and we pride ourselves in having generous swathes of open space between our suburbs and throughout our streets, bringing nature well into the heart of our city.

burnt suburbsBlack Mountain tower and its reserve on the outskirts of O’Conner, Turner, Cook and Aranda is a perfect example of that, with the Australian National University snuggled up beneath it. But bringing nature to our doorstep and work place can be both a positive and negative, the negative in this case is the threat of bushfire travelling well into our suburban streets.

For those in our community that live, work or recreate beside, or close to open spaces, reserves and nature parks, you are classified as living on the city-rural interface. You need to take action each and every fire season to prepare you, your family and your home – PREPARE. ACT. SURVIVE

Even if you live several streets back from these interface areas you are not necessarily safe from bushfire. The Canberra 2003 bushfires demonstrated how powerful a bushfire can be and how it can reach well inside a suburb to destroy lives and homes.

power lines downIt is not only those who live and work in areas of high bushfire risk that need to take action and stay alert during a bushfire season – everyone can be affected at some point. For example, bushfires create thick smoke that can turn day into night and drift over areas making driving very dangerous for everyone. In many cases roads will be blocked.

During and after a fire, roads become even more dangerous with powerlines and trees fallen down across streets and bridges damaged.

Be aware of wandering animals and look out for any distressed people who may not be alert to their surroundings. Also be aware that emergency vehicles and personnel are responding from one place to another and may be hard to see due to the smoke.

So stay off the roads as long as possible and DO NOT GO FOR A DRIVE TO SEE WHAT IS GOING ON as you will threaten yourself, your passengers and other people at the scene.

Still think bushfire doesn’t affect you?

Do you like to:

  • bushwalk or hike?
  • walk the dog in the reserve of an afternoon?
  • picnic or drive in the bush or country?
  • camp or 4WD in remote bushland or country areas?
  • mountain bike ride or road riding in country areas?
  • enjoy orienteering or bird watching?
  • horse riding?
  • enjoy weekends travelling to the coast or mountains?
  • do your kids go out bush?

Then you too are at high risk from bushfire – PREPARE. ACT. SURVIVE.

Bushfire Prone Areas

BPA map

The BPA is a risk-based map that shows the area of the ACT that has been assessed as being at high risk to bushfires. Canberra’s urban areas that are adjacent to forest and grassland are defined as BPA, as is the ACT’s entire rural area. Currently, close to a quarter of all dwellings in the ACT are located in the area identified as BPA.

The BPA map provides the means by which people can assess their level of bushfire risk and supports the ESA’s targeted community education and awareness campaigns for bushfires.

Areas of BPA may also be used to trigger assessment to determine the necessary construction standards for new buildings or significant renovations in order to meet the Australian Standard (AS) 3959 – Construction of buildings in bushfire prone areas.

The BPA map will continue to be reviewed and refined to reflect changes in land use and ownership and as improved vegetation mapping becomes available.

Find out if you live in a bush fire prone area.