New online guide for home bushfire resilience


As we head into another bushfire season, the Bushfire Best Practice Guide offers a range of advice on building and retrofitting for bushfire protection.

Australia’s national science Agency CSIRO has worked with The University of Melbourne and the Victorian Country Fire Authority to develop the guide, produced with funding provided by the Australian Government in partnership with the States and Territories under the National Partnership Agreement for National Disaster Resilience.

It is now publicly available online at, and will be showcased to media through an Australian Science Media Centre briefing.

The guide helps homeowners:

  • understand that bushfires are a natural part of the Australian landscape
  • understand how bushfires interact with homes and gardens
  • use principles of design to reduce bushfire risks (including injury and the loss of life)
  • improve on existing bushfire regulatory controls
  • build or retrofit a house or garden.

Leader of CSIRO’s Bushfire Adaptation team Justin Leonard said the guide applies bushfire risk management advice for residential building and landscape design. Applicable for homeowners across Australia, it also includes specific additional advice based on regulations for Victorian homeowners.

“It can be difficult to work out the best ways to build while navigating building and planning regulations that are focused on what the minimum requirements are to be allowed to build,” Mr Leonard said.

“Often bushfire building design and landscaping are considered separately when, in fact, there are so many opportunities to have them complement each other.”

At the media briefing on Monday Oct 11, leading up to International Day of Disaster Resilience on Oct 13, you’ll meet:

  • Justin Leonard, the Leader of CSIRO’s Bushfire Adaptation team
  • Alan March, Professor in urban planning at The University of Melbourne
  • Mark Holland from the Victorian Country Fire Authority
  • Malcolm Hackett, community champion who experienced the pain of property loss and can speak to how this tool can help others.

Briefing details: Monday October 11, at 10.30am AEDT, via this link:


Aerial view of bushfire-affected homes Image CSIRO
Aerial view of bushfire-affected homes © CSIRO

Scientist in high vis takes photos of a burning structure
Home-design testing at CSIRO’s Mogo burnover facility NSW © CSIRO

Diagram of a house showing risks from trees, gaps in the house, and combustible elements of construction
House vulnerability © Sam Thompson

Two people in blue jumpsuits in burnt landscape
Justin Leonard and team assessing post-fire loss © CSIRO

Scientist in fire protection gear
Justin Leonard in field PPE at CSIRO’s Mogo burn-over facility NSW

Scientist in blue CSIRO jumpsuit in front of a burning building
Justin Leomard testing at CSIRO’s Mogo burn-over facility in southern NSW © CSIRO

Researcher stands beside house holding measurement device
Researcher conducts house resilience assessment © CSIRO


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