As we read the news each day, we see the bushfires taking an enormous toll on rural housing but at the same time, some houses can come through a fire completely unscathed.
Bushfires are a serious risk in rural Australia, particularly in these prolonged warm months that are coming with greater intensity each year with climate change. If you are living in or near bushland, it is important that you take extra measures to protect your property from bushfires.
Prepare a plan. Developing a bushfire survival plan will help you take action and avoid making last minute decisions that could prove deadly during a bushfire.
A bushfire survival plan should apply to any house in an area with a history of bushfires, houses within a few blocks of bushland, properties not at direct risk that are situated near wilderness or, if you’d need to travel through bushland in order to escape.
It is important to check and update your plan annually. Make sure all family members are familiar with the plan in the case a fire approaches.
Here are some practical tips to reduce the risk of your home catching alight by simply maintaining your property to create a ‘protection zone’ around you home:
● Clear away all leaf litter, long and dry grasses, and any thick undergrowth near your home. Avoid having garden beds against the house
● Regularly clear gutters of leaves and other flammable debris
● Install screens and shutters and keep them closed, so embers can’t enter your home
● Cover roof vents with wire mesh
● Be aware of where and how flammable liquids are stored, arrange gas cylinders so that the vent points away from the house
● Find a place away from the house to move your BBQ and LPG cylinders in an emergency (never indoors)
You should prepare your home to survive a bushfire, even if your plan is to leave. A well-prepared and constructed house is more likely to survive a bushfire than an unprepared one.