Obligations of Landowners - Section 105F Duties to Prevent Fires

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Obligations of Landowners

Pursuant to Section 105F of the Fire & Emergency Services Act 2005, the owner of land is required to take action to protect property on the land from fire, or to prevent or inhibit the outbreak of fire on the land, or the spread of fire through the land:

1.   Section 105F requires that an owner of private land must take reasonable steps:

(a)   to prevent or inhibit the outbreak of fire on the land; and
(b)   to prevent or inhibit the spread of fire through the land; and
(c)   to protect property on the land from fire; and
(d)   to minimise the threat to human life from a fire on the land.

2.   The following matters may be considered relevant to determining whether a breach of these requirements has occurred:
(a)   the nature of the land;
(b)   whether the land is in a country, metropolitan, township or other setting;
(c)   the activities carried out on the land (including whether flammable or combustible materials or substances are used or stored on the land);
(d)   other statutory standards or requirements that apply to or in relation to the land.

3.   If you fail to comply with a requirement of this notice-
(a)   you may be liable to a significant fine; and
(b)   an authorised person may proceed to carry out the work required by the notice and recover the costs against you.

Other matters may also be taken into account.

Property owners are required to maintain the property throughout the Fire Danger Season. This may mean you will have to mow or slash the land several times during the Season.

Legislation states that property owners must take reasonable steps to prevent the outbreak of fire on the land or from spreading to neighbouring properties. Accordingly, Council will be doing inspections and issuing Fire Prevention Notices to the owners of land requiring attention. The purpose of the notice is to provide for the control of flammable fuel such as weeds and grasses and the removal of accumulated litter beneath established trees to reduce the potential for damage caused by fire. It does not mean that valuable trees, shrubs and ornamentals need to be removed, but commonsense measures must be adopted to protect life and property from fire.

The notices outline Council's requirements and if owners do not carry out the work within 14 days, Council may arrange for the work to be completed and the owner will be invoiced by Council for the full cost. A $50.00 administration fee will be incurred in addition to the cost of the work.

Legislation enables a Council to issue an Expiation Notice with a fee of $315.00 where a person wilfully fails to comply with the fuel reduction notice. This fee may be issued in addition to the actual cost involved in carrying out the specified works.

Please note that Council is taking this action in the interest of public safety and the protection of assets, with the full support of the South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission.