Depending upon where you live, you may or might not be at risk of bush fires. This could be devastating if you grow your own crops and keep chickens and/or livestock.

So what can you do to prepare for this eventuality?

Reducing the risk of fire:

  • Do not store any loose trash or brush piles. If fire fighters are trying to keep the fire from reaching your home, you want to have as little fuel for the fire laying around as possible
  • Cut down shrubs and dead branches on trees and shrubs
  • Keep your grass and pastures short
  • Think about natural barriers – things like green grass, bare dirt, roads, or rocks are all helpful natural fire barriers
  • If you are building use non-combustible building materials even if it’s not legally required
  • Have plenty of hoses and keep them readily available during fire season
  • Consider planting a “fire mix” type of grass seed
  • Store firewood or hay stacks away from buildings
  • Make sure your animals are clearly identified. Use ear tags or brands to mark your animals in case you must cut fences to free them in a hurry
  • Have a plan of where you can take your family and your animals in the event of an evacuation
  • Store important papers such as birth certificates, or animal registration papers in a fire-proof safe. Or, have them in a bag that you can easily grab in a hurry

The dry weather, soaring temperatures and recent disasters have boasted the discussion of poor bush fire compliant homes once more. For new homes current legislation does a pretty good job of forcing Australians to better withstand a bush fire attack. But currently there is no legislation enforcing property owners to upgrade their existing homes to comply with current Bushfire Attack Level’s (BAL). There is only one minor measure in place that only quietly mentions that a homeowner has a property located in a bush fire prone area.

When a property is sold the vendor is required by law to organise a Sales Contract. Within this Sales Contract is a Section 149 Planning Certificate. Within this document it mentions if your property is in a bush fire prone area or not. It does not state the Bushfire Attack Level or if the current dwelling comply’s with current bush fire legislation.

Be aware that the seller of any property is not legally required to ensure their property meets current bush fire construction standards.

Ensuring your home is bush fire compliant

You can find out if your property is bush fire compliant or not by doing a little research. Here is what you should do:

1. Engage council
Engage your local council and ask them to prepare a Building Certificate. The certificate will outline if your home complies with current building standards, and will go into a little detail about bush fire compliance. If you need further details about bush fire compliance you can engage a private certifier.

2. Certifiers
Council – There are some council’s that can provide a specialist consulting service – assessing bush fire construction compliance. This is a paid service where a report can be prepared outlining what you need to do to ensure your house complies with your particular Busfire Attack Level.

Private – There are some private certifiers that also offer a similar service as above.

3. Bush Fire Consultant
Specialist bush fire consultants are a great resource if you have a high level bush fire prone property.

As a home owner, the choice is yours, as to whether you bring your home in-line with current bush fire construction levels or not. Getting your home to comply with current standards can be a costly exercise but not always.

We cannot stress enough the importance of being prepared when it comes to bush fire. With changing weather patterns, longer dry spells and hotter temperatures every year, you can find yourself in a fire risk area sooner than you think. We are thinking ahead and are aiming for BAL-40 approved version of ecokit. Watch for updates!

Has anyone had experience of having to deal with a wildfire?

Camilla

About Camilla

My enthusiasm for changing lifestyles, determination to change the world, devotion to a positive change of any kind, love of innovative ideas and desire to always push the boundaries organically came together eventually - and so ecokit was born. Now I am proud to be doing what I enjoy and love - helping people to fulfill their dreams of living in a healthy, happy home.

2 Comments

  • Katherine Sri says:

    Yes, I have been in a bush fire in Queensland that threatened to burn our two cabins and sheds on 400 acres of natural, uncleared property. Wind speed and direction is the crucial variable factor in a bush fire. At one point it was touch and go for the 3 of us, when the wind increased its strength and the fire exploded around us and I wondered if we would get out alive. Luckily the wind velocity dropped again. We were able to protect both the cabins and sheds with all of the remainder of the property being burnt. The fire came to our property on two different fronts, north and west. We had made fire breaks with the tractor around both cabins and cleared all burnable material away. There were still some trees nearby that were too large to clear. We back burned around the cabins when the fire started to come close, to create more protection. We had drums of water on the back of a ute from where we sprayed water onto the fire. It is important to have good water pressure for fighting a fire. Fire breaks are crucial in protecting a home.

    • Camilla says:

      Hi Katherine,

      sorry to hear about your terrifying experience. I hope you have all recovered since. Thank you for sharing your story and how you have fought the fire. It just confirms it wise to have a plan and be ready.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to our newsletter and be first to know about the latest eco-living news, inspiration and updates.