Fire recovery checklist

Download this page – Fire recovery checklist January/February 2020  (PDF - 404.6 KB)

This straightforward checklist is to assist farmers after the damage of bushfire.


  • Ensure the safety and wellbeing of yourself, family and friends.
  • Talk to family and friends about your experience.
  • Start doing a few small, safe jobs.
  • Manage offers of assistance by recording names and phone numbers.
  • Take plenty of photos and notes for insurance and future reference.
  • Identify and isolate on-farm hazards such as:
    • fallen powerlines
    • asbestos contaminated sites
    • chemical storage areas
    • sheep dips and spray areas
    • lead and other heavy metal contaminated sites (batteries, treated pine, etc.).


  • Manage the health and welfare of your animals by:
    • reporting injured livestock to Agriculture Victoria on 1800 226 226 so that our animal health staff can assess the livestock
    • euthanising impacted livestock if you are confident that you can do so humanely or contact Agriculture Victoria for assistance
    • continuing to monitor all stock on a regular basis
    • providing adequate food, water and shelter to remaining animals.
    • Complete an emergency feed and water budget table.
      • This will help you determine your livestock’s short-term needs which is important if you have lost a significant amount of pasture or supplementary feed and water supplies are impacted.
      • For further information and advice on feeding livestock visit Agriculture Victoria’s feeding livestock website.

Water supply

  • Protect your drinking water by diverting downpipes until an initial flush (of roof and pipes).
  • Protect your dam water by:
    • skimming off floating debris and organic matter
    • trapping ash, debris, organic matter and sediment with closely spaced steel posts, ring-lock, netting or sediment traps
    • fencing and reticulation
    • consolidating water supplies with pumps and pipe
    • removing floating debris off dams after rain
    • de-silting dams.
  • Remove stock if water becomes putrid, looks or smells rotten or has signs of blue-green algae (paint-like scum on surface).


  • Mark boundary fence alignment prior to clean-up.
  • Seek assistance with clearing boundary fence lines.
  • Avoid replacing internal fencing immediately; fire offers an opportunity to re-think your farm layout.
  • Consider:
    • patching up old fences wherever possible
    • a new fence alignment or gate location/s
    • replacing fencing along land class boundaries
    • requesting an aerial photo plan of your farm to review your farm layout
    • seeking advice from Agriculture Victoria staff on re-fencing and whole farm planning.


  • If possible, de-stock burnt and partly burnt paddocks.
  • Seek potential for outside agistment.
  • Consider building a stock containment area or sacrifice paddock to limit grazing to a defined area (to protect your pastures and soil).
  • Perennial pastures and sub-clover are generally unaffected by fire. However, fire can have a major impact on annual pastures.
  • Consider setting up a watered pasture trial plot to assess plant survival.


  • Seek assistance with rehabilitation of firebreaks and access tracks.
  • Consider protecting loose, sandy soils from wind erosion with cover crop of oats, deep ripping or ridging.
  • Upgrade track drainage to minimise erosion.

Native vegetation

  • A significant proportion of native vegetation will survive a bushfire; give it time to recover.
  • Watch for burning tree roots three to six months after the fire.


  • Contain weed spread by feeding stock in one location, such as a containment area.
  • Closely monitor areas disturbed by firefighting or recovery activities.


  • Flooding can be a major issue following a bushfire.
  • Protect your house and other facilities from flooding with earthen banks or sand bags.
  • Install closely spaced steel posts upstream of culverts and stream crossings to trap debris.
  • Regularly check your dam spillways and banks for damage.
  • Regularly check erosion control structures for damage.

For more information call Agriculture Victoria on 136 186, visit Bushfires or contact your local fire recovery centre.

Page last updated: 28 Feb 2024