Clearing around your home

Now is the time to prepare your house. How far around your house can you clear BEFORE you need to get council permission?

The short answer is: it depends. Where is your house? When was it constructed? Does it replace a house previously destroyed by bush fire? All these facts determine exactly what you can and can’t do.

CFA has launched a new online tool to make it easier for people to check whether they can clear vegetation, including trees and branches, from around their homes without a permit. Planning exemptions – known as the ‘10/30’ and ‘10/50’ rules – were introduced in 2011 to reduce red tape for residents wanting to clear up ahead of the bushfire season.

CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson said in many communities these rules were not widely known or understood.

“We are concerned that some residents may be putting off essential property preparation work because they think a permit is needed, and it all goes into the too hard basket,” he said. “For people living in most areas of regional Victoria and in high bushfire risk areas especially, that is not usually the case.”

Gisborne CFA wants everyone to be aware that in most parts of the Macedon Ranges Shire, a permit isn’t needed to remove trees within 10m of their home and understorey vegetation for up to 30m from their home, but there are exemptions and you need to check before getting the chainsaw out.

A new two-minute video ‘Clear up or clear out’ was released on CFA’s Facebook and YouTube pages this week to raise awareness of the rules around vegetation clearing.

The video is lighthearted on tone but features a serious message, urging residents to ‘check before you clear’ by going to, and talking to the local council.