Bushfires in Victoria

Find books, government reports, websites, statistics, newspaper articles and images about Victorian bushfires from 1851 to today.

Current legislation

Current Victorian acts and regulations relating to bushfires, arson, fire prevention and control, lighting of fires, and states of emergency are available online at Victorian Law Today.

The Code of practice for bushfire management on public land (PDF) 2012 provides 'a framework for the management of fire on Victoria’s public land including planned burning and bushfire response' and 'strategies for prevention, preparedness, response and recovery activities while outlining new statutory obligations during bushfire responses such as the Fire Services Commissioner’s requirements and the obligation to warn the community'.

The amended Building Regulations 2006 refer to the new Australian Standard AS 3959 - 2009 Construction of buildings in bushfire prone areas. This standard is available at State Library Victoria from the Building Code of Australia database.

The Bushfires Royal Commission Implementation Monitor Act came in to force in Victoria in 2011. It was repealed on 30 September 2014 by section 25 of the Bushfires Royal Commission Implementation Monitor Act 2011, No. 6/2011.

Historic legislation

Historical acts online

Historical Victorian acts are available online. The website includes a facility to search the text of the acts. However, the printed consolidations listed below may be easier to use, as they give clear information about the amendements made to an act over time.

Historical acts in print

The Library holds printed consolidations of Victorian legislation as in force in 1890, 1915, 1929, and 1958.

The acts included in these consolidations usually indicate amendments made to an act up to the date the consolidation was made. These amendment histories help you to you trace changes to an act back in time.

See below for acts in the consolidations which appear to relate to bushfires. Some may relate to fires more generally, or fires in metropolitan and suburban areas, or fires in properties or buildings (as opposed to forest or grass fires). It can be difficult gauging this from the descriptions included in the indexes so you will need to look at the acts to determine their relevance.

1890 consolidation
Index in last volume of the set. See:

  • Crimes Act
  • Police Offences Act
  • Local Government Act

1915 consolidation
Indexed. See:

  • Forests Act
  • Income Tax Act (relief in case of hardship after bushfire)
  • Land Tax Act (relief in case of hardship after bushfire)
  • Land Act (prevention of fires in the Mallee)
  • Coroners Act (inquests)
  • Local Government Act (preventing and extinguishing fires, fire escapes)
  • Crimes Act
  • Police Offences Act

1929 consolidation
Not indexed - organised by title. Consult it to see changes to Acts listed in the earlier consolidations.

1958 consolidation
Indexed. See:

  • Country Fire Authority Act (index includes dates and numbers of all prior CFA Acts back to 1944)
  • Forests Act (the Forests Act 1939 'enabled the then named Forests Commission (now the Department of Sustainability and Environment) to take complete control of fire suppression and prevention on public land in Victoria. Previously, both the Forests Commission and the Board of Works undertook forest and fire management and this created confusion as to who should be in charge of overall fire management' (source).
  • State Relief Committee Act
  • Also see 'Fires' in the 1958 index - most Acts mentioned are the same as listed under 1915 above