Frequently Asked Questions
In this section you will find a number of frequently asked questions, answers and links to other useful resources.
Frequently asked questions
Q: I live uphill from a nearby park and have a large eucalypt 3 meters from my house. I’m concerned about the fire hazard this causes. Should this tree be removed?
A: The intensity of bushfires can be greatly lowered by reducing or removing the amount of bushfire fuel available. However, the reduction of fuel does not necessarily mean the removal of all vegetation. Trees, in particular, can provide you with some bushfire protection by slowing down and reducing strong winds, intense heat and flying embers. If you have one large tree it may be best to simply remove the branches overhanging your house.
It is important to note that most trees in Ku-ring-gai are protected and permission will need to be sought before pruning or tree removal can occur. Some exceptions do apply, and these can be viewed at http://www.kmc.nsw.gov.au/Plans_regulation/Environment/Trees
Q: How do I find out when the last controlled burn or bushfire was? I live near bush land and I’m worried about big fires.
A: Council keeps a record of past hazard reduction burns and bushfires. This can be viewed on the Council’s mapping system Online Map Viewer.
Once you have loaded the Online Map Viewer click on Maps tab and then select Fire History. This will show you where fires and hazard reduction burns have occurred. On the left of the screen is a legend that tells you when these fires happened.
Top tip: You can make the map show only some fires by clicking the ticks on the legend.
Q: I understand the reasons why it is difficult to do more frequent hazard reduction burns, so what can I do to protect my home?
A: Great question! There are many things you can do to protect your home from bushfires. One of the most useful strategies is to protect your home from ember attack. Research in Australia clearly shows ember attack is main cause homes destroyed during and immediately after a bushfire moves through an area (85% of all homes). Strong winds blow embers many hundreds of meters or even kilometers ahead of the fire front causing spot fires. Embers can be thick in the air in a large fire and can find their way into your roof cavity and house through the smallest of gaps like around windows, under doors or roof tiles for example.
Step 3 of the Ready Check tool has tips and information on how to protect your home from ember attack. If you have any other questions you can use the Ask a Local Expert button and submit your question.
Q: How would I know if my home insurance will cover the cost of rebuilding?
A: The rebuild cost depends on your Bushfire Attack Level (your BAL). If you are not sure what your BAL is you can check with your Local Council or the Rural Fire Service.
Your ‘sum insured’ determines how much the insurer will pay towards a rebuild. Building costs are constantly increasing. Also, the higher your BAL, the more your building costs will be. This is because your home may need to be rebuilt to a higher standard. Talk to your insurer about what the right level of cover is for you. You can also use their online calculators to find out.
Check your product disclosure statement to see And get covered early. There are limits on buying insurance once a fire has started. It is worth shopping around to get the right policy for you.
More information – Bushfire Insurance Guide
Q: Why does the government not provide fire hydrant in every property?
A: Fire hydrants are provided but they are not easy to see. In residential areas, there are fire hydrant points every 50-100 meters, they come in different sizes and designs. The most common cover or surface fitting is one with the letter ‘H’ on the top and may be coloured in yellow. They are not very noticeable and Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) firefighters are urging residents and businesses to find the water hydrant on the footpath and street closest to their home or place of work and check its condition. Click the link below for tips for how to make a hydrant near your home easier to find. This will help in case of a fire emergency.
Q: How do I know what standard my house has to be built to if I am in a bush fire zone?
Q: What is the BAL rating based on?
Q: I have limited budget – what should I spend my money on?
Questions to be answered by our experts
Q: What is the best way to mount solar panels in bushfire prone areas? How do I stop embers burning them during an ember attack?
Yet to be answered. Come back soon.
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