Fire trails to improve community safety

Issued: 9 August 2016

An integrated network of strategic fire trails will be established to improve access for firefighters during bushfires and better facilitate planning and management of hazard reduction.

Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott today introduced legislation to amend the Rural Fires Act 1997 to establish a functional fire trail network, connecting the thousands of existing fire trails across NSW.

It requires Local Bushfire Management Committees, including representatives from NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS), Police, Council, National Parks and other agencies, to develop local fire trail plans and identify any gaps.

The NSW RFS will immediately begin work on a register of all trails across the state and plans for the network will be in place in three years.

All fire trails will have standard width, gradient and signage and a regular inspection regime will ensure they are properly constructed and maintained.

Mr Elliott said NSW had experienced devastating bushfires in recent years and an integrated network would assist hazard reduction.

"Today we are delivering on an election commitment to give firefighters the powers they need to create an improved and integrated fire trail network across the state," Mr Elliott said.

"This supports the Government's commitment to protect almost 600,000 homes and almost 750,000 hectares through hazard reduction activities by 2019."

Most fire trails will be located on public land - private land will host a minority of trails. The NSW RFS will build fire trails on private land in agreement with the landholder only.