Read the plan
A printable version of the Hornsby/Ku-ring-gai Bush Fire Risk Management Plan is available to view.

Bush fire risk in Hornsby/Ku-ring-gai

Fire agencies, land managers and other stakeholders have been working to identify ways of reducing the impact of fires on our area – protecting lives, homes, businesses, agriculture, the environment and other assets that are important to Hornsby/Ku-ring-gai.

The local Bush Fire Management Committee has developed a Bush Fire Risk Management Plan, which identifies the risks and the plans to protect them.

The plan identifies the risk to communities and the assets we all value. Using feedback from fire agencies, land managers and other stakeholders, the plan identifies ways of reducing the impact of fires across our area.

By planning together, we will help shape the Bush Fire Risk Management Plan for our area for the next five years.

How the Hornsby/Ku-ring-gai Bush Fire Risk Management Committee has assessed the risk

Fire is a part of living in Hornsby/Ku-ring-gai. It has been a part of this landscape for millions of years.

As our population and region changes, the risk of fires impacting on our community has changed.

To understand the bush fire risk in Hornsby/Ku-ring-gai, and help inform the best ways of managing and reducing the risk, we’ve looked at what’s important to local communities – including where people live, as well as environmental, economic and cultural assets.

We look at the assets across the landscape, and using computer modelling, we have tested scenarios for possible fire conditions to understand the impact on the community.

Residential: The residential risk map shows the modelled risk to homes and properties from bush fires. Each coloured square on the map represents the risk to a home or a group of homes. The map displays the comparative risk across the local Bush Fire Management Committee area. If your home is in the lowest risk category it can still be damaged in a bush fire, it is just less likely to be damaged compared to other areas.
Economic: The economic risk map shows the modelled risk to economic assets from bush fires. The risk is calculated based on the economic loss of the modelled damage assessment and how long it is expected that the asset will return to the pre-fire condition. These are important considerations because if they are destroyed during a fire, they can have long lasting impacts on employment and population in the area.
Environmental: This map shows the environmental assets that have been modelled as being at highest risk from bush fire in the area. This includes areas at risk because they contain threatened species vulnerable to fire, vegetation types sensitive to fire e.g. rainforests or land managed for conservation or environmental outcomes that does not include fire.
Cultural Predicted Aboriginal Assets: This map shows the predicted Aboriginal cultural assets that have been modelled as being at the highest risk from bush fire in the area.
Fuel Management Register and Focus Areas: This map shows the Fuel Management Register – a list of hazard reduction activities identified as strategic treatments in the risk plan. The Fuel Management treatments include prescribed burns, BFMC managed Asset Protection Zones and the development or maintenance of Fire Breaks. This map also displays the areas identified by the Bush Fire Management Committee as Focus Areas.

Managing the risk in Hornsby/Ku-ring-gai

We have considered the risk to people and assets across the area to determine the most appropriate and effective way of managing that risk.

There are some measures which apply broadly – such as vegetation management, development controls, bush fire education, and fire suppression activities. These activities reduce the bush fire risk to assets and communities throughout the area.

Where an unacceptable risk exists for a particular area or assets, additional targeted treatment strategies are planned during the next five-year period. These treatment options include:

  • Fuel management – the reduction or modification of bush fire fuel with the intent of slowing the spread of bush fire and aiding firefighting operations. This may be identified as;
    • Asset protection zones – these are typically close to homes, and provide a separation from the bushland to reduce the impact of fires, and give firefighters a safe place to work if protecting homes in a fire;
    • Ignition management zones – areas in the landscape maintained at  a reduced fuel level to minimise the propagation of ignitions and limit the rapid escalation of fires;
    • Strategic fire advantage zones – these are areas across the broad landscape which, when treated, can help slow the spread of a fire across the landscape;
    • Firebreaks – areas designed and managed to provide fuel reduced areas from which a fire can be suppressed.
  • Ignition prevention – activities to prevent or reduce bush fire ignitions whether they be accidental or deliberate. This includes community preparedness programs, fuel management and specific actions in the Ignition Prevention Plan.
  • Community preparedness – activities such as working with residents to improve their level of planning and preparation for a fire, to increase the survivability of their home and families in the event of a fire.
  • Response – specific response requirements for a particular area or value in addition to standard procedures. This may include specific actions in the BFMC Plan of Operations or Fire Access and Fire Trail plan.

The Hornsby/Ku-ring-gai BFMC is made up of a range of stakeholders from the area including emergency services, land management agencies, local government and local Aboriginal land councils, and local community groups. This ensures key agency stakeholders have a say on bush fire management activities for the benefit of their communities. You can find out more about the Hornsby/Ku-ring-gai BFMC on their website.

Hornsby/Ku-ring-gai BFMC is made up of the following member organisations:

  • NSW Rural Fire Service
  • Department of Industry (Crown Lands)
  • Hornsby Shire Council
  • Ku-ring-gai Council
  • Ausgrid
  • Fire and Rescue NSW
  • Endeavour Energy
  • Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales
  • NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
  • NSW Police Force
  • Transport for NSW
  • Sydney Water
  • Greater Sydney Local Land Service
  • Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council

The Hornsby/Ku-ring-gai BFMC area spans 58,390 hectares (ha). The area covers the Local Government Areas (LGA) of Hornsby Shire Council and Ku-ring-gai Council and features National Park covering an area of 25,060ha (43% of BFMC area).

The Hornsby/Ku-ring-gai BFMC has approximately 73.5% bushland and 7.8% grassland with the balance being the built environment or water bodies. A bush or grass fire can occur at any time of the year, but the risk is higher during the warmer months, when bush, grass or scrub is drier.

  • According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021 Census Community Profile there are 99,713 residential dwellings in Hornsby/Ku-ring-gai BFMC area with an approximate population of 265,690.
  • According to the ABS data on the counts of Australian businesses, there were 28,339 businesses in the Hornsby/Ku-ring-gai BFMC. The top three industries in the BFMC are professional, scientific and technical services, rental hiring and real estate services, and construction. These account for almost 48% of businesses in this BFMC.
  • The last major bush fire occurred in the 2002/03 bush fire season with 19,868ha burnt.
  • There are several valuable community assets across the area along with a number of culturally significant sites and environmentally important sites.

Bush fire survival plan

Getting ready for a bush fire is easier than you think. Make a bush fire survival plan so you know what you will do if there’s a fire near you.

Prepare your home

A well-prepared home is more likely to survive a bush fire. Even if your plan is to leave early, the more you prepare your home, the more likely it will survive a bush fire or ember attack.

Prepare yourself and your family

Preparation isn’t just about cleaning up around the house and having a plan. It’s also about making sure you consider your physical, mental and emotional preparedness.