Bush and grassfires can happen in rural, regional and urban areas. These fires are dangerous and can travel very fast. Grassfires can be just as dangerous as bushfires.
Many Victorians live, work and travel close to or within bushland, parks, reserves, open grasslands, paddocks or coastal scrub.
- be aware of their level of risk
- prepare their property
- know what to expect if a bush or grassfire starts
- plan and know what to do if a bush or grassfire starts
To better understand your level of risk and the different types of fire risk environments go to: Am I at Risk? | CFA
For further advice specific to your local area got to: Your Local Area - Info and Advice | CFA
You can create a personalised fire plan by using the Victorian Government's Online Fire Planner tool.
Bush and grassfires
Have and Practice a Bushfire Survival Plan
A well thought out plan can help you avoid, escape from and survive a summer fire if you live, travel or holiday in a bush or grassfire risk area.
- Have a plan and practice it often.
- Know the ways you can be informed if a fire starts, how you will stay up to date during a fire emergency and what you will do.
- Talk to your family, friends and neighbours about your plan.
- Leaving early is your safest option. Decide when you will leave and where you will go on hot, dry, windy days
- Understand the Australian Fire Danger Ratings and check them daily during the hotter months. For more information go to: Fire Danger Ratings | CFA
- Prepare an emergency kit. For assistance got to: Fire Ready Kit | CFA
- Download the VicEmergency App from the App Store or Google Play onto your device, set up a user profile and watch zones for areas that interest you. Allow push notifications for Emergency Warnings, Fire Danger Ratings and Total Fire Bans.
- Add the Vic Emergency website to your favourites on your internet browser.
- Save the VicEmergency Hotline (1800 226 226) into your phone contacts.
- Follow Fire Rescue Victoria, VicEmergency, CFA and SES social media accounts.
Prepare Your Property
All Victorians should assess their risk and prepare their property accordingly - before and throughout the fire season.
- Create fuel breaks around your property and the assets you want to protect - know what you can and can’t do without a permit before and during the Fire Danger Period in your local area
- Mow your grass and remove anything flammable such as firewood, rubbish, or weeds from around your fence line
- Assess the type and location of vegetation on your property for fire risk
- Consider relevant home improvements
- For resources to help you prepare for a bush or grassfire go to: How to Prepare Your Property | CFA
Your risk is most extreme if you live, work or travel in places surrounded by or near forest that is difficult to see through. All forest or woodland presents a bushfire risk.
- be very hot and intense
- produce dangerous levels of radiant heat even from a distance away
- produce a large amount of thick toxic smoke that can reduce visibility
- produce embers that can travel in strong winds from far away and land for a long time after the fire has passed
- cause trees to fall, particularly in high winds
- involve both heavy fuels that will burn very hot for long periods of time and fine fuels (the thickness of a pencil or less) that will burn very fast
Large grassfires can be extremely dangerous. People can die and property can be destroyed as result of a grassfire. You are at risk if you live, work or travel in places surrounded by or near a grassed reserve or paddock particularly if the grass is allowed to grow long.
- start early in the day
- spread faster than bushfires as grass is a finer fuel - up to 25 kph or even 60 kph in open grassland
- spread to timber fences and gardens
- produce a lot of radiant heat
- produce embers that can travel in strong winds, fall near or on homes and other buildings and private property and start new fires
- can spread from home to home
- produce a lot of smoke, which can make it hard to see, cause breathing difficulties and increase the likelihood of traffic jams or road crashes.
Coastal Vegetation Fires
A fire in coastal vegetation can create dangerous conditions. If you live near, work near or travel to the coast you are at risk. Evacuating to a beach, foreshore or to shallow water may not be a safe option as you may not be protected from radiant heat.
Coastal vegetation fires can:
- be very hot and fast-moving
- behave erratically due to gusty ocean winds
- produce a lot of embers
- reach houses quickly
- lead to busy, congested coastal roads
If a fire starts in your local area it is vital that you stay informed of the current situation. The Australian Warning System is a national approach to information and Emergency Warnings.
Warnings are issued when a bush or grassfire has started and you need to act. Don’t wait to receive an official warning before you leave. Leave early to avoid getting caught in a fire. Fires can start quickly and threaten homes and lives within minutes.
Make sure you’re connected to VicEmergency information via the internet, television, radio and/or the VicEmergency app. Follow all directions from emergency services.
For comprehensive information go to: Before and During a Fire | CFA
If a fire starts and you are in your home
- If you live next to bush or grassland and a fire starts, walk at least two streets back from the fire. Do not take the car.
- If you live two streets or more from bush or grassland and a fire starts, stay where you are and follow all directions from emergency services.
- Keep all windows and doors closed and place towels or blankets around windowsills and door gaps. Do not use your air conditioner.
If a fire starts and you are in a car
Always plan to leave early to avoid getting caught in your vehicle.
- Never drive if you see smoke or fire. Thick smoke will make it hard to see and traffic jams or road crashes are likely. Keep roads clear for emergency service vehicles.
- Sheltering in a car is extremely dangerous and can result in serious injury or death.
- Don't get out of the car and run.
- Turn your hazard lights on
- Park off the roadway away from dense bush and long grass facing towards the oncoming fire.
- Before the fire approaches, close windows and doors tight, shut all vents and turn off the engine.
- Make sure you get down below window level and cover up with woollen blankets.
If a fire starts and you are in the open
Radiant heat can kill.
- Move away from the threat to somewhere with minimal vegetation like a ploughed or well-grazed paddock
- Take shelter from the radiant heat
Suburb Park, reserve or bush land
Donald McDonald Reserve
Ricketts Point Hinterland
Long Hollow Heathland
Balcombe Park Reserve
Plenty Gorge (Southern End)
Merri Creek Park
The Grange Heathland
Birts Hill Reserve
Yarra Bend Park (North)
Yarra Bend Park (South)
Organ Pipes National Park
Broadmeadows Valley Park
Ringwood Lake Park
Yarra Valley School
Bay Road Heathlands
Trevor Barker Oval
Bellbird Dell Reserve