Going away? Have you prepared your property for the fire season?
Most of us try to take the opportunity for some rest and relaxation over the summer and may even get away for a break. But summer is also the time we face the greatest bushfire risk.
So how do you safeguard your property if you are going away?
Watershed Landcare spoke to Jayne Leary, District Services Officer, Cudgegong District NSW Rural Fire Service to find out.
“If going away over summer, the best way to prepare your property is to do what you would do if a fire is approaching.” Ms Leary said.
“The more preparation work you do around your house and other assets, the greater the chances that they will survive a bushfire.” she continued.
Remove fuel hazards from around your house and farm buildings. Things you can do include mowing and clearing vegetation from around your house and buildings. Make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and twigs and move any flammable items such as door mats, BBQ, outdoor furniture, cushions and hanging baskets.
Slash fire breaks along boundary fences to help slow or stop the spread of a fire and if you have fire breaks across your property, make sure these are clear.
“What we are trying to achieve is to reduce the available fuel to make it harder for fire to take hold.” said Ms Leary.
If you have animals, what’s their plan? Who’s going to look after them? Where can they go?
You can create a ‘safe paddock’ close to the house or yards where animals can be kept in case of a fire. This could be a grazed or green paddock or a laneway, with access to water. You can prepare a safe paddock by slashing or heavily grazing the area and make sure water is available and fencing is secure.
Choose an area where dry grass and timber is minimal if you don’t have a safe paddock available. Somewhere with a large cleared area within the paddock is the best option if nothing else is available.
Notify a trusted neighbour of your plan so they can advise the fire service that you’re away and move your livestock if there is a fire.
“The better prepared your property, the harder it is for fire to take hold and the easier it is for firefighters to defend whilst you’re away.” said Ms Leary.