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.
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?