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Edition 16: Fire Preparedness

In this edition:
Why do I need a fire plan?

The characteristics of every farm and farm business are different and each farm requires a unique approach to fire preparedness.

Fire can affect properties rapidly and cause devastating impacts.

Developing a fire plan and completing the tasks identified within it, will assist farmers, land managers and small-scale landholders to be better prepared and recover faster, should their property be affected by fire.

A fire plan can help to protect your home, livestock, and vital farm infrastructure. A plan will also help identify the timing of activities so they can be undertaken at the appropriate time.

It is important to review the plan annually and again during periods of high fire risk.

Your fire plan is also an important part of good backyard biosecurity and can be developed as part of your farm biosecurity plan.

Take the Emergency Preparedness Quiz - a 10-minute quiz to help farmers review their farm emergency preparedness and prioritise a list of follow-up actions.

Take the Evaluate Your Farm Water Supply System Quiz to help you evaluate your farm water supply system and plan improvements.

Fire Preparedness Toolkit
Female farmer crouching in paddock watching sheep feed on hay

Agriculture Victoria’s Fire Preparedness Toolkit will help farmers and small-scale landholders to prepare their farm for the fire season.

Learning from the experiences of farmers previously impacted by fire, the toolkit contains simple checklists and templates to help you prepare your farm business, livestock, staff, and infrastructure ahead of the fire season.

The toolkit includes key things that when identified as part of a preparedness plan, can ease the process of recovery after a traumatic bushfire experience.  For example, having a written farm asset inventory will assist in reviewing insurance coverage before, as well as assessing loss and damage after a fire. In addition, securely storing farm documents (on the cloud or off-farm) and on-hand, will help ease the pressure when it comes to seeking financial support or making insurance claims.

The Fire Preparedness Toolkit and other bushfire resources are available on the Agriculture Victoria website and should be used in conjunction with existing information and resources from the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and your local council.

For more information, listen to the Farm Fire Preparedness webinar (passcode: Preparedness) or watch the Managing Fire Risk on Farms - tools, tips, resources, and a Seasonal Update webinar (passcode: Climate).

Order a hard copy of the toolkit by email:

Farm mapping
Male farmer walking toward cattle holding hay to feed out

Have you included a farm map in your fire preparedness plan?

A good farm map should include the measurements of internal and external fences which is useful for insurance purposes or recovery if fences are damaged.

Biosecurity features on a farm map might include entry/exit points, quarantine areas, stock containment areas, double-fenced areas, public access areas, stockyards, feed storage areas, parasite/pest sites, machinery shed(s), chemical storage shed, chemical/fuel/oil spillage area, wash down area, power poles, animal treatment sites, effluent disposal area, stock disposal, rubbish dumps, dog kennels/chook yards. 

A farm map is an essential aspect of your farm biosecurity plan and a requirement for your LPA property risk assessment and Biosecurity Management Plan.

Agriculture Victoria’s ‘Biosecurity How-to webinar’ series, has a recorded session on using the Google Maps tool (passcode: Biosecurity2022). 

More information is also available in the Backyard Biosecurity How to do a farm map newsletter.

Emergency access
Farm family leaning on an access gate

Will emergency services know where to come in the event of a fire?

As part of your fire season planning, make sure roadside numbers are visible, vegetation around gates, culverts and bridges is clear, and gates are as wide as possible and easy to open.

Animal welfare
Male and female farmers leaning on yard gate looking at sheep.

Where will you place your livestock during an emergency?

It’s crucial to have a refuge paddock or stock containment area ready for your livestock with adequate feed and water for their safety before fire season and for use on days with a fire rating of high or above. 

Use the Fire Preparedness Toolkit and web resources to start planning for stock containment areas, emergency feeding and water budgeting.

Further Information

Visit the Agriculture Victoria website: 

Subscribe to the Recovery & Resilience e-newsletter for regular information on events and support information.

Other resources: 

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We have added the Backyard Biosecurity newsletter series to the Agriculture Victoria website, to enable you to easily find a previous edition.


Agriculture Victoria

Contacting Agriculture Victoria

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