Wildfire and weed management on roads

Weeds found on roadside verges in the Top End are a growing threat to fire safety, holding a fuel load three to five times greater than native grasses.

The Northern Territory (NT) Government undertakes wildfire and weed management activities on and next to public roads.

The NT Government develops fire and weed management plans in consultation with community groups. These management plans are specific to a land, catchment, regional and local area.

Preventative burning

Preventative burning is burning of vegetation in the early Dry Season or in the Wet Season to prevent hot and severe fires in the late Dry Season.

Preventative burning will be used:

  • only in areas of high risk
  • on road reserves where the landholder has pasture or produce in the adjacent paddock and the risk of wildfire is high, and the landholder can't undertake appropriate preventative measures
  • only on major tourist drives where the risk is deemed too great for an alternative.

The NT Government and contractors must employ appropriate traffic management measures and preventative burning operations must not compromise erosion or drainage controls.

Fire breaks

Fire breaks will not be put in place unless they are essential for wildfire and weed management.


The NT Government will cut grass along the road corridor to a distance of 10m on major highways and arterial roads where possible.

Weed management

The NT Government is responsible for undertaking appropriate weed management on public roads in coordination with the community.

Priorities will be identified on the basis of:

  • threats to the surrounding biodiversity
  • contribution to fire hazard
  • movement of weeds along road corridors into weed free districts.

Undeclared problem plants

Plants considered a problem in road reserves but not declared as noxious will be managed using the following guidelines:

  • where the plant is of significant community concern, either as a threat to biodiversity or a fire risk, the plant will be treated as a weed
  • where the specified plant is legitimately being propagated in a particular catchment/land area, the plant will not be treated as a weed unless controls exist on the specified landholdings
  • where no controls exist, treatment will be limited to controlling the spread of the plant.

Spread of weeds

The spread of noxious or problem weeds will be minimised through the identification of catchment areas and weed free zones, to be adhered to by anyone conducting activities in the road reserve.

Weed management and contractors

Contractors working on the road reserve must not use top soil, sand or other material contaminated with weed or weed seedlings.

Any top soil, sand and other material that is used must be sourced from within the NT.

All contracts relating to the road reserve will include specifications regarding weed management. These will include:

  • clauses about weed hygiene practices including wash downs and covering of loose loads
  • reporting of weed types and locations
  • minimal environmental disturbance
  • and rehabilitation of disturbed sites.

Last updated: 03 January 2019

Give feedback about this page.

Share this page:

URL copied!