With summer fast approaching, and forecasts of extreme heat on the horizon, the threat of bush fires continues to be a very real concern for many homeowners, especially those located in certain parts of the Mornington Peninsula. The good news is, there are many things that you can do to give your home the best chance of surviving a bush fire. Here we’ll explore some essential steps and strategies to fortify your home against the devastating force of Australian bush fires.
Create a Defensible Space
The first line of defence against a fire is creating a defensible space around your home. Here are some key steps to consider:
- Clear vegetation – Remove dry leaves, dead trees, and shrubs within a certain radius of your home. Maintain a clear space to reduce the likelihood of embers igniting your property.
- Create firebreaks – Consider using gravel paths or driveways as firebreaks, which can slow down the fire’s advance and protect your property.
- Prune trees and bushes – Trim tree branches and bushes to create a canopy at least 10 feet above the ground to prevent ground fires from spreading to the treetops.
Choose Fire-Resistant Landscaping
Opt for fire-resistant plants, shrubs, and trees in your landscaping. Some species are less likely to catch fire and can act as a natural barrier. Succulents, deciduous trees, and native grasses are good choices. Avoid highly flammable plants such as gum trees, rosemary bushes, plants with dry, leathery leaves, and abundant, dense foliage. Mulch can be flammable too, so consider swapping out your mulch for pebbles where appropriate.
Prevent Ember Attacks
Ember attack is the most common cause of building damage or destruction from bushfires. Embers can travel well in advance of the fire front and can enter your home through gaps and ignite the interior. They can also ignite debris on roofs, in gutters and windowsills. Repair and cover any gaps in external walls, enclose gaps under your house, and fit seals around doors/windows to completely close any openings where embers may enter.
Roof and Eave Protection
Your roof and eaves are vulnerable areas. Consider these protective measures:
- Use fire-resistant roofing materials, such as metal or fire-retardant tiles such as terracotta or concrete types.
- Seal gaps and vents in the eaves with fire-resistant materials.
- Install metal gutter guards and a fire sprinkler system in your gutters.
Secure Windows and Doors
Embers can easily penetrate windows and doors. To safeguard your windows and doors:
- Install double glazed or tempered glass windows.
- Use metal window and door security screens for added protection.
- Install exterior shutters that are fire-resistant.
Maintain a Water Supply
Ensure you have a reliable water supply and firefighting equipment on your property. This includes:
- A well-maintained garden hose with a long reach.
- A water pump or generator in case power is lost.
- Sprinkler systems for wetting down the house and landscape.
If you have the space, a rain water tank is a great option to ensure you have water on hand in the event of an unpredictable bush fire.
Plan an Evacuation Strategy and Stay Informed
Having a well-thought-out evacuation plan is essential. Ensure that your family knows the plan and be prepared to leave early if necessary. You should also keep abreast of fire conditions and warnings throughout the hot summer months. Sign up for emergency alerts and pay attention to local news and weather reports.
Australian bushfires can be dangerous, and even deadly. Preparation and vigilance are key to staying safe in fire-prone areas. Protecting your home from bush fires is a serious undertaking, but the safety of your family and property is worth the effort! By implementing these simple strategies, staying informed, and being proactive, you can greatly reduce the risk of your home succumbing to the flames of a bush fire.
Bobcat Hire – Moorooduc
One simple way to protect your home is by clearing overgrown and dead foliage from around your property. Bittern Garden Supplies is here to help with affordable earthmoving equipment – Red Hill locals and homeowners all across the Mornington Peninsula trust us for efficient and reliable service. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help safeguard your property from the threat of bush fires.