This section covers details about how to manage the clean-up and clearing of land, including Council requirements, and identifying and safely managing asbestos.

On this page

Demolition and land clearing
Fire retardant
Trees and vegetation
10/50 vegetation clearing
Service NSW resources

Demolition and clearing land

Removing rubble does not require Council’s consent, but demolishing partial structures or heritage items might. Please contact Council to find out what approvals you may need. 

Structures over 4 metres in height do require demolition by a licensed contractor.

When cleaning up your property, make sure you:

  • moisten ash with water to minimise dust and keep it damp, but do not use high pressure water sprays.
  • don’t spread ash around your property, particularly if asbestos materials were used in your home or other structures, or CCA-treated timber was burnt.
  • don’t bury building rubble as it may contain hazardous materials.


Any structure built before 1987 is likely to have Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM). If in doubt, it’s safest to assume asbestos is present unless you have confirmation in an Asbestos Assessment Report. 

Blue Mountains City Council can provide more information on the clean-up to be undertaken at properties including the assessments of health and safety risks. Register your address with Council and we can help check this for you.

Asbestos is suspected on my property. Who can inspect my property for asbestos?

The safest way to remove any quantity of asbestos is to get an appropriately licensed professional to come and do the work for you. SafeWork NSW has a list of licensed asbestos assessors on the SafeWork NSW website.

Asbestos is confirmed on my property, who can remove it?

A contractor licensed to undertake Friable Asbestos removal work will be required to remove fire damaged asbestos. A list of licensed asbestos removalists can be found on the SafeWork NSW website.

I have received a lump sum payout from my insurer. Can I engage a contractor directly to remove asbestos from my property?

Yes, but they must be licensed to undertake Friable Asbestos removal work. A list of licensed asbestos removalists can be found on the SafeWork NSW website.

Fire retardant

The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) drops coloured fire suppressant retardants and gels from aircraft during firefighting operations to help slow the spread of a fire. These retardants are not hazardous. But there are some precautions that you need to take.

For more information about what to do if these suppressants have been used on your property, please read the Fire Retardant Fact Sheet.

Trees and vegetation

Trees and vegetation are protected under legislation and planning policies.

In an emergency you can remove trees if it is necessary to protect human life and property from imminent danger from a bush fire burning in the vicinity. Where possible, you should keep evidence that demonstrates why the tree removal was necessary, such as photographs or video footage, or a written opinion from an arborist before removing the tree.

If you feel that trees on your neighbour’s property pose a bush fire risk to your property, you can contact the RFS and request they make an assessment of the neighbour’s property and if necessary, issue a bush fire hazard reduction notice to that property owner.

As part of planned bush fire protection programs, property owners can apply to the RFS for a Hazard Reduction Certificate. The RFS will make an assessment of the bush fire risk posed by the vegetation. Council does not make assessments of bush fire risk posed by trees. 

10/50 vegetation clearing

The 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Scheme gives people living near the bush an additional way of being better prepared for bush fires. The scheme allows people in a designated area to:

  • Clear trees on their property within 10 metres of a home, without seeking approval; and
  • Clear underlying vegetation such as shrubs (but not trees) on their property within 50 metres of a home, without seeking approval.

Check if your property is in a 10/50 Vegetation Area

The 10/50 scheme is supported by the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice.

Service NSW resources