Bushfire information

Macleay Valley Recovery

Kempsey Shire Council’s Recovery Team is supporting local residents and businesses to recover from the drought and bush fires of 2019 and 2020. If you have been affected, there are a range of assistance measures available to support you. Visit our recovery page or call the Recovery Team on 6566 3200 during office hours.

Preparing for bush fires

If you live in or close to bushland, grassland or farmland, a bush fire may threaten your home. Preparation will give you and your family the best possible chance of surviving a bush fire and reduce the impact on your property.

The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) recommends making a Bush Fire Survival Plan so you know what you will do if there’s a fire near you. 

New South Wales fire information

The RFS provides up-to-date information on:

  • fire incidents in New South Wales
  • bush fire danger ratings and total fire bans
  • which areas are bush fire prone, including a mapping tool to locate your property
  • how to report a fire hazard on your property or another property near you

Fires Near Me app

Fires Near Me NSW is the official mobile phone app of the NSW RFS, providing information and warnings about bush and grass fires across the state. The app is available at:

You can also follow the RFS on:

Fire permits

Fire permits required from 1 September 2021

Wednesday 1 September 2021 marks the start of the statutory bush fire danger period in the RFS Lower North Coast Zone. Fire permits are now required for residents of the Kempsey local government area. 

There is a year-round requirement to give at least 24 hours’ notice to the Lower North Coast Burn Notification Line (02 6626 6860) and all adjoining neighbours before lighting the fire.

Preparing for the bush fire danger period

We encourage you to:

  • create or review your Bush Fire Survival Plan
  • clear around your home by mowing lawns, raking up leaves and cleaning out gutters
  • know the bush fire danger rating every day
  • know how you are going to get information before and during a bush fire emergency

Neighbourhood Safer Places

A Neighbourhood Safer Place is a building or space in the community that can provide a higher level of protection from the immediate life-threatening effects of a bush fire.

Neighbourhood Safer Places can’t be considered completely safe; there is still some risk in moving to them and sheltering in them. They are a last resort in emergencies only.


  • When you are travelling to your Neighbourhood Safer Place, there may be heavy smoke and poor visibility.
  • Water, toilets and food may not be available at the Neighbourhood Safer Place and emergency service personnel may not be present.
  • The conditions at the Neighbourhood Safer Place may be uncomfortable and you may be affected by heat, smoke and embers.
  • Neighbourhood Safer Places are not intended for pets or livestock.
Neighbourhood Safer Places in Kempsey Shire
Name Type Location
Kempsey Showground Open space Sea Street, West Kempsey
Crescent Head Country Club Building Rankine Street, Crescent Head
Willawarrin Sports Ground Open space Armidale Road, Willawarrin
South West Rocks Country Club Building 2 Sportsmans Way, South West Rocks
Hat Head Bowling and Recreation Club Building Reserve Road, Hat Head
Gladstone Oval Open space Barnard Street, Gladstone
Joe Donovan Sporting Complex Open Space Banksia Street, Stuarts Point

For the latest list of Neighbourhood Safer Places near you, visit the RFS website

AIDER program

The AIDER (Assist Infirm, Disabled and Elderly Residents) program is a free, one-off service aimed at reducing bush fire hazards on people’s properties.

AIDER is designed for aged residents and residents with disabling conditions who live on bush fire prone land and have limited domestic support available from family, relatives, friends or other services.

You can apply for AIDER online or by phoning 02 8741 4955