10/50 Rules and FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the 10/50 rule allow me to do?

If you live in a designated '10/50 vegetation clearing entitlement area', the laws will allow you to:

  • Clear trees on your property within 10 metres of a home, without seeking approval; and
  • Clear underlying vegetation (other than trees) such as shrubs on your property within 50 metres of a home, without seeking approval.

There may be other restrictions that apply, such as if your property is on a slope, or there are items of Aboriginal or cultural significance in the area. Find out more below.

Who do the new rules apply to?

The 10/50 rule applies only to properties that are in a designated 10/50 vegetation clearing entitlement area. This includes private and public land.
However, clearing can only be done if you are the landowner or you have the approval of the landowner.

How can I find out if I'm in a 10/50 vegetation clearing entitlement area?

You can search for your property to see if your property is in an entitlement area.
The online tool will also let you know if there are restrictions due to items of cultural significance, or waterways.

How do I locate my property using the online tool?

The online property search operates under Google. When you type in your address you should select your address from the drop-down list. This list contains addresses recognised by Google. Once selected you should see a marker placed on your property. If this is your property then click the 'Get Results' button to determine whether your property is in the clearing entitlement area.


o I have to clear vegetation if I'm in a vegetation clearing entitlement area?

No. It is an entitlement to clear, not a requirement. You may contact your local NSW RFS District Office if you are seeking advice regarding your property and bush fire hazard management.

What if the vegetation is on a neighbouring block?

The new rule only applies to your property. You may not clear neighbouring property without that property owner's consent.

However, you can ask neighbours to clear if the vegetation on their property is within 10 metres or 50 metres of your building. However they may only clear if their property is also in a clearing entitlement area.

Your neighbours (public or private) are not required to clear simply because they are in the 10/50 clearing entitlement area or because you would like them to.

If you believe there is a bush fire hazard on neighbouring land that is not being addressed then you can make a hazard complaint by contacting your local NSW RFS District Office

You may prune branches within 10 metres of your building where those branches are overhanging your land from a tree on your neighbour's property, however you will need to comply with a range of conditions.  For more information refer to the Frequently Asked Question below – 'Are there any conditions when pruning trees?'

Can I clear vegetation on my property if the building I am seeking to protect is on my neighbours land?

You may clear vegetation in accordance with the 10/50 Code if your property is in the clearing entitlement area, and the neighbouring residence (or high risk facility) is within 10/50 metres of the area you are clearing. You do not need your neighbour's consent to clear vegetation on your own land.

What kind of buildings does the 10/50 rule cover?

You can clear vegetation near the external walls of a building containing habitable rooms such as a home, tourist or visitor accommodation, caravans that are in caravan parks, and manufactured homes installed in manufactured home estates.

You can also clear vegetation near the external walls of high risk facilities including child care centres, hospitals and schools (but not tertiary institutions such as universities or TAFE).

The building must also be one that has been approved with provision for habitable rooms by a Development Consent or other lawful authority. If the building has been constructed without consent, the 10/50 rules do not apply.

More information on the definition of a habitable room is contained in the 10/50 Code of Practice.

Can I clear vegetation if my house is not yet constructed but I have Development Consent?

No. You may only clear once the building has been constructed.

Where do I measure the 10 or 50 metres from?

The distance is from the external walls of the building. It includes permanent fixed structures such as decks or garages that are attached to the building. It does not include detached garages, sheds and the like.

How do I know which conditions apply to my property?

You may only clear in accordance with the 10/50 rules in the Code of Practice. You must read the Code and apply the conditions to your property. If your property has the potential for Prescribed Streams, Aboriginal heritage or other cultural heritage the online tool will identify this in the results.

Can I burn vegetation under the 10/50 rule?

You cannot use the 10/50 Code as an exemption from, or to obtain approval for, burning vegetation. 
Refer to the NSW RFS publication 'Before You Light That Fire' or contact your local NSW RFS District if you are seeking further information on burning and the types of approvals that may be required. 
It is against the law to dump any vegetation.




For more information and the online tool please click here.



Unfortunately bush fires are natural occurrences in Australia but not many people are prepared or have a plan.  In these situations, you will be required to make important decisions with limited options - please don’t leave it too late.

There are a number of factors that vary for each person’s circumstances and we are happy to help you with your bushfire survival plan.

We would love to spend some time with you and your family to help you PREPARE for the bushfire period!

Please contact us to make an appointment.

Neighbourhood Safer Places


Neighbourhood Safer Places (NSP) is a new concept that has evolved out of the tragic Victorian ‘Black Saturday’ bush fires in February 2009. A Neighbourhood Safer Place (NSP) is a place of last resort for people during a bush fire. It can be part of your contingency plan, for a time when your Bush Fire Survival Plan cannot be implemented or has failed.

An NSP is an identified building or space within the community that can provide a higher level of protection from the immediate life threatening effects of a bush fire. NSP’s still entail some risk, both in moving to them and while sheltering in them and cannot be considered completely safe. They are a place of last resort in emergencies only.

The following limitations of NSP need to be considered within your Bush Fire Survival Plan:

  • NSP do not cater for pets
  • When using NSP do not always expect emergency services to be present
  • NSP do not provide meals, amenity or cater for special needs (e.g. for infants, the elderly, the ill or disabled)
  • They may not provide shelter from the elements, particularly flying embers.

If an NSP is part of your contingency plan it should not require extended travel through fire affected areas to get there. If there is not sufficient time or it is unsafe to travel to an NSP you should then consider other pre identified safer locations such as your neighbours’ home or a wide open space.

In September 2009, the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS), in conjunction with other NSW emergency service organisations, developed guidelines for the identification of NSPs across the State of NSW. As part of this identification process, potential NSPs are assessed against a set of criteria to determine if the building or open space is suitable. The primary purpose of a NSP is the protection of human life.

Local Emergency Management Committees (LEMCs) have been tasked with the responsibility of identifying NSPs in their local area.

The NSW Rural Fire Service has now received recommended NSPs data from LEMCs for the majority of NSW. This data is currently being subject to a validation process to confirm that recommended NSPs satisfy the necessary criteria.

Click on your council area below to view the designated NSP locations for your local government area. These NSP locations have been subject to the validation process and have been deemed acceptable as a place of last resort.

Static Water Supplies (SWS)



An estimated 95% of households in NSW are connected to a mains water supply. There are approximately 7% of all households with an alternative source of water such as rainwater tank or bore in addition to the mains water supply. An estimated 13% of households have a swimming pool. 

The Static Water Supply (SWS) program is aimed at identifying properties with a water supply such as dams, creeks or swimming pools, that can be used for firefighting purposes.

In the event of a fire the SWS sign and your backyard pool or dam could save your home.The NSW Fire Brigades has a program to identify swimming pools and other water sources, particularly in bushfire risk areas.

During bushfires, firefighting operations can be limited by a lack of water, due to the overloading of the local water supply or limited water availability. A small I.D. plate with the letters S.W.S. which means Static Water Supply, is placed in a visible location in consultation with the property owner. The backyard swimming pool provides an ideal emergency water supply for firefighters, using small portable pumps and hose lines to protect your home and possessions. Your pool water will only be used as a last resort during major bushfires. The S.W.S. sign is provided FREE.

If your house or property has a water source, such as a swimming pool or dam, you can assist firefighters by prominently displaying a SWS plate at your front gate so that it is readily visible from the road. Your inclusion in this program may assist the Fire Brigade to extinguish a fire that may occur in or near your home or a neighbour’s home or property.

To be part of the SWS program please contact your local fire station.

Conducting pile burns - information for residents


Residents living in the Arcadia/Berrilee/Fiddletown area are able to remove excess garden waste by creating a pile and burning it. In areas prone to damage by bushfire this is a huge benefit to everyone and it is one of the ways to help prepare your property to withstand a bushfire. Before you conduct a pile burn you need to get an EPA permit from Hornsby council, and during the fire season (generally October to March) an RFS permit is also needed. An application for a permit from both the council and the RFS will result in a visit from the relevant authority to inspect the pile.

Where can I get more information?
Hornsby Council Pile Burn Requirements Information

Hornsby Council General Information about fire permits


Please feel free to contact us either at the station via telephone or on Facebook. 

Emergency Survival Kits


Prepare an Emergency Survival Kit before the bush fire season starts.

Having a prepared kit means having easy access to things that can help you survive a bush fire or other natural disaster and, will be in one handy location. This kit will help you regardless of whether you are going to leave or stay and actively defend your house.

Some of the things you might like to include in your kit are:

General Items

  • Portable battery-operated radio
  • Waterproof torch
  • Spare batteries
  • First aid kit with manual
  • Candles with water proof mathes
  • Woolen Blankets
  • Emergency contact numbers
  • Waterproof bag for valuables

Before you leave, add

  • Cash, ATM cards, credit cards
  • Medications, toiletries and sanitary supplies
  • Special requirements for infants, elderly, injured, disabled
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • Combination pocket knife
  • Important documents, valuables and photos (in a waterproof bag)
  • Change of clothes for everyone
  • Drinking water (at least three litres per person per day)

Community Firewise Groups

What is a Community FireWise Group?


Community FireWise Groups (CFG) is a community development program designed by CFA Victoria and adopted by Arcadia Fire Brigade to help reduce the loss of lives and homes in bushfires. It assists community groups to develop bushfire survival strategies that suit their level of risk, lifestyle, environment and values.

Unsure of what you can or can't do in the Bush Fire Danger Period on total Fire Ban Day? Click here to find out more

Surviving major bushfires

History shows that bushfires are extremely dangerous. If residents take responsibility for their bushfire safety and prepare themselves, they can reduce their risk.

While a community can do many things to improve safety and minimise loss from major bushfires, even well-prepared properties can become undefendable under certain conditions.

The RFS acknowledges the complexities of bushfire management, and assists Community FireWise Groups to develop survival strategies that consider various scenarios.

Hornsby Heights - view from Rofe Park

Hornsby Heights - view from Rofe Park

Community FireWise Groups

Community FireWise Groups are formed when residents of a local area choose to participate in the program. Groups are made up of neighbours or residents living in a shared bushfire risk environment. The program is suitable for all residents in bushfire risk areas, whether they are planning to leave early or stay to actively defend. It is for new residents or for those who have lived in the area a number of years. By working together with support from your local Fire Station, groups can develop survival strategies. Neighbours are often the first, and sometimes the only, assistance that residents can count on during a major bushfire. The RFS cannot guarantee every person and home with individual assistance during a major bushfire and recognises that many people may have to face a fire without the support of the Fire Services. By planning ahead, and actively participating in a CFG group, residents are able to develop strategies for themselves – strategies that have local ownership. Groups make decisions about the best way to protect themselves that fits their bushfire risk, lifestyle and environment.

Community FireWise program

The Community FireWise program has four core sessions:

  • Introduction to the program and fire behaviour
  • Understanding personal survival
  • Understanding house survival
  • Developing personal and household bushfire survival plans.

As part of these sessions, groups can go on street or property walks to help them identify risks and assess bushfire safety. Another key activity is to look at available fire protection equipment.

Importantly, the program is locally specific to street and individual property level.

Most groups will cover the core information in four to five meetings over 12 months. However, groups vary in experience and understanding so meetings are planned to meet the needs of the group. 

Once the core program is completed groups are encouraged to meet annually supported by your local Fire Station. Involvement in the program is voluntary but participants are encouraged to make an on-going commitment and attend all meetings. New residents are welcome to join an established Community FireWise Group.

Benefits of participating

Research conducted after Black Saturday 2009 shows those residents who were regular members of CFG groups and actively participated were more likely to reduce their losses and have better emotional recovery following a bushfire. There are many benefits to being an active member of a CFG group including: 

  • Knowledge and understanding essential for developing a Bushfire Survival Plan
  • Understanding property preparation
  • Sharing of knowledge and bushfire experiences with others
  • Physical and emotional support from neighbours during a bushfire
  • Improved emotional recovery after a bushfire
  • Building strong social networks with neighbours.

Additional activities

Every group focuses on its own special needs. Some additional activities and strategies may include:

  • Organising neighbourhood working bees
  • Becoming familiar with each other’s properties and fire fighting equipment in groups where a shared response is planned
  • Making plans with the more vulnerable community members
  • Establishing a telephone tree, a two-way radio network or a group email list to facilitate communication within the group
  • Working out new ways to share information, such as the use of social network websites – Facebook and Twitter or RSS feeds through the RFS website
  • Organising the bulk buying of personal protective clothing and equipment.

Groups draw on the support of their local Fire Station as required.

Participants are not RFS volunteers

It is not the role of Community FireWise Groups to become volunteer groups for the RFS. There is no expectation that Community FireWise Groups or individual participants will:

  • Become RFS volunteer firefighters
  • Engage in active fire fighting, beyond the protection of their own home and immediate surrounds
  • Advise or direct others how to respond to the threat of fire
  • Take responsibility for the safety of others in the group or wider community
  • Guarantee to warn others of an impending threat of fire.

For more information about the Community FireWise Program or to find out how to establish a CFG group in the Arcadia, Berrilee or Fiddletown areas phone James Baird on 0415 969 900 or community@arcadiarfs.org.au

(With thanks to the CFA Victoria for the above text with amendments