Siting defendable spaces
A defendable space is an area of land around a building where vegetation (and other fuels) is managed to reduce the effects of flame contact and radiant heat associated with a bushfire. As well as reducing your homes exposure to bushfire, defendable space should provide easy access for emergency services and an open area for firefighting. Outside of Victoria, a defendable space may be called an Asset Protection Zone (APZ).
Where to start
It is important to understand your site and the local landscape when considering the ease of which you can turn a section of land into a defendable space. How will you use the area when it’s not being used as a defendable space? Consider its function and aesthetic value, in addition to its role as a defendable space. Also keep in mind that retaining some trees and a few patches of vegetation (if managed correctly) can serve as a barrier against radiant heat, wind and ember attack, as well as enhancing the overall look of your home.
- Create a defendable space according to the requirements in your state or territory. In Victoria, planning permit application within a Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) is subjected to specific bushfire provisions regarding defendable spaces. For information, visit Planning Victoria
- Consider combining or integrating accessways and other hard landscaping such a pools or tennis courts into your defendable spaces.
- If possible, your defendable space should be accessible to vehicles and provide enough room for then to turn.
- Maintain the defendable space over time. Keep the area clear of major hazards and obstacles.
- Design the defendable space with aesthetic values in mind, consider how to make the space both functional and practical.
- See Siting a defendable space (CFA, PDF download) for additional guidance.
- Do not create an unmaintainable defendable space; that is, a space that will be difficult or impossible to maintain.
- Do not create a defendable space next to immature trees that will encroach on the area when they grow to maturity (unless they are being used strategically, e.g., as Screen plantings).
Lawn between the house and the bushfire hazard can form a suitable defendable space