If you live, work or travel in an area where bushfires can occur you need to make a plan that includes places you can relocate to if you are threatened by a bushfire.
There are two categories of places that can be used to shelter from a bushfire that we have identified. The preferred category called Bushfire Safer Places offers the greater level of protection. The second category called Bushfire Last Resort Refuges offers little protection but may provide a central gathering point if all other options aren't available.
On this page:
Bushfire Safer Places are suitable for use during bad fire weather or during bushfire. They are built up areas that have:
- lots of buildings that can provide protection
- roads that provide fuel breaks and multiple access points
- dispersed vegetation, such as short grass and maintained landscaping, that makes the spread of fire more difficult.
A Bushfire Safer Place is an area that has been designated as a place of relative safety, such as metropolitan Adelaide and some regional townships. These places have been assessed as safer from the affects of bushfires because:
- it is in an area of low levels of bushfire fuel
- it is far enough from continuous bushland or forest to reduce the risk of sparks and embers
- the bushfire will be interrupted by
- established gardens and lawns
- road networks and other low fuel areas
- there is likely to be access to emergency, health and other community services.
On high fire risk days, a Bushfire Safer Place may be used as a place:
- for people to stay in, if they already live in a Bushfire Safer Place
- to leave early to from high bushfire risk areas.
Properties on the edge of these locations generally face a higher level of risk compared with those nearer the centre of the area. The relative safety of these properties can be improved by property owners undertaking appropriate bushfire safety measures to ensure they don't place themselves and the greater community at risk.
If your Bushfire Survival Plan includes relocating to a Bushfire Safer Place, you should:
- identify where your nearest Bushfire Safer Place is
- identify where there are suitable alternatives
- work out how you will get there
- work out alternative routes to take
- work out how long it will take you to get there
- decide under what circumstances you will relocate
- decide what your trigger points for action will be
- plan for your relocation; when, where and what you will take.
We recommend that if you intend to relocate to a Bushfire Safer Place you should do so early in the day. Last minute decisions to relocate in the face of fire are extremely dangerous.
If you choose to stay in a Bushfire Safer Place, or if you relocate to one, it is unlikely you will be exposed to direct flame or severe radiant heat. You may be exposed to sparks, embers and smoke which may start secondary fires in vegetation, gardens and structures. While a Bushfire Safer Place may be uncomfortable during the passage of a fire, it will be safer than being in high bushfire risk areas.
Even if your property is located within a Bushfire Safer Place you should prepare your home and undertake appropriate bushfire safety measures on your property.
The use of a Bushfire Last Resort Refuge is not recommended and should only be used if your plan has failed and you cannot reach a Bushfire Safer Place. Bushfire Last Resort Refuges are marked with a sign. They may be an oval/sporting ground, recreational area, community hall, foreshore, or carpark area.
There may be no facilities available at a Bushfire Last Resort Refuge and they are unlikely to be suitable for pets or livestock.
Bushfire Last Resort Refuges are a place you could go as a last resort and are unlikely to provide protection or safety in an extreme fire situation.
They will be extremely uncomfortable and there will still be risks. It is still a better option than being caught on the road or on foot.
A Bushfire Last Resort Refuge is a space or building which you could go to during a bushfire in your area. It is an area that may provide a minimum, temporary level of protection from the immediate life threatening effects of radiant heat and direct flame contact in a bushfire.
A Bushfire Last Resort Refuge is intended to provide a place that offers some level of protection if there is nowhere else to go during a bushfire. It does not guarantee the survival of those who assemble there. You should only use a Bushfire Last Resort Refuge when your Bushfire Survival Plan has failed and you cannot safely relocate to a Bushfire Safer Place.
It is important not to confuse Bushfire Last Resort Refuges with a Bushfire Safer Place. Bushfire Last Resort Refuges are your LAST choice of location to shelter from a bushfire.
You should only use a Bushfire Last Resort Refuge when your Bushfire Survival Plan has failed and you cannot safely relocate to a Bushfire Safer Place. As part of your Bushfire Survival Plan identify your nearest Bushfire Last Resort Refuges that you could use if your plan fails.
A Bushfire Last Resort Refuge will be extremely uncomfortable and there will still be risk. It is still a better option than being caught on the road or on foot.
Your safety cannot be guaranteed when using a Bushfire Last Resort Refuge during a significant event and you might die.
Risks associated with Bushfire Last Resort Refuges are:
- travelling to a Bushfire Last Resort Refuge may be dangerous. Traffic congestion, fire activity, heavy smoke, accidents or fallen trees may block the route
- there is no guarantee that you will be safe from fire or radiant heat when travelling to or sheltering at a Bushfire Last Resort Refuge
- emergency services may not be present
- there may be limited capacity
- Bushfire Last Resort Refuges do not cater for animals
- Bushfire Last Resort Refuges do not provide meals, amenities or special needs (e.g. for infants, the elderly, the ill or disabled)
- Bushfire Last Resort Refuges may not provide shelter from the elements, particularly flying sparks and embers.
A Bushfire Last Resort Refuge is not designed to replace your Bushfire Survival Plan. You should complete and practice your Bushfire Survival Plan to ensure that you and your family are prepared and know what to do in the event of a bushfire.
Know the difference
Bushfire Safer Place
Bushfire Last Resort Refuge
Shaded yellow areas
Green square icon with white people
An area that has been identified as a place of relative safety. Such as Adelaide Metropolitan area, outer suburbs and rural settlements.
Use if you need to relocate early.
Suitable for use during forecast bad fire weather or during bushfire.
Only use if your plan has failed and you cannot reach a Bushfire Safer Place.
This is not your first choice.
Use as part of your plan to relocate early.
Suitable for extended use.
Other services and facilities will be available.
For emergency use only when no other option is available.
Identify as a contingency in case your plan fails.
Not suitable for extended use and provides only limited protection during bushfire.
Services and facilities will not be present at these locations.
This map shows Bushfire Safer Places and Bushfire Last Resort Refuges. Use the print button to customise a map of your area.
- Bushfire Safer Places are identified by yellow overlay on map
- Bushfire Last Resort Refuges are identified by green icon on map
- Other areas on map can be bushfire risk areas
For a map of a larger area, or assistance with this map, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
*A modern web browser is required to view this map.
- Bushfire Safer Places fact sheet to help with your planning
- Videos explaining Bushfire Safer Places and Bushfire Last Resort Refuges
- Bushfire Safer Places and Bushfire Last Resort Refuges in your local council area