Be prepared for the upcoming fire season

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?

Safeguard your property: Summer is the time we face the greatest bushfire risk.


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.

Continuing to improve our awareness

Local landcare group, Watershed Landcare, continues to be strong and active with this year’s activities focusing on working with it’s members and the community to improve knowledge and awareness, and to increase the uptake of sustainable land management practices.

Watershed Landcare held it’s Annual General Meeting on Friday 24 November. The meeting was well attended and gave members an overview of Watershed’s activities over the past year as well as an opportunity to mingle and chat at the supper afterwards.

Watershed Landcare continues to have strong support from our members, sponsors and partners and Landcare membership remains strong and enthusiastic.

“2017 has been a really busy year again, we have had lots of activity happening.” said Claudia Wythes, Watershed Landcare Coordinator.

“We have hosted a range of events including grazing tours, soil health workshops, spider monitoring, and beekeeping workshops just to name a few, plus developing our strategic plan.”

“We have partnered with a number of organisations including Central Tablelands LLS, Mid-Western Regional Council, the Australian Rural Education Centre, University of Sydney and the Rare and Heritage Fruit Tree Network to deliver events in our region.” she continued.

The election of office bearers for 2018 was overseen by returning officer, Bruce Christie.

Viviene Howard accepted the nomination for the position of Chairperson. Sonia Christie, Christine McRae and Hunter White retain positions as Vice-chair, Secretary and Treasurer, respectively.

The number of nomination received for positions on the executive indicate that members are keen to be involved in Watershed Landcare’s operation and 2018 will see the committee grow by one. Christine Corner and Graeme Anderson return to the executive and will be joined by new comers Rosemary Hadaway and Jane Young.

“We are able to do so much, thanks to the fabulous commitment and dedication of our volunteer management committee.” said Ms Wythes.

“It has been a busy year, and we have some exciting things planned for 2018.” she continued.

We’re actively seeking funding from various sources to continue to deliver training, workshops, seminars, field days, on-ground works and projects to protect and enhance the environment and sustainability of our region.

The new Executive Committee will hold it’s first meeting in February 2018. All Watershed Landcare members are welcome to attend.

Workshop to help our landholders team up

The success of environmental management actions can be greatly improved when such projects are implemented across property boundaries. But starting and maintaining the momentum of a local group can be daunting and hard work. It helps to draw insight from others and receive good guidance along the way.

As part of the Landholder Collaboration Project, a workshop on ‘Everything you need to know about Local Collaboration’ will be held in Mudgee in December.

“Knowing about how to collaborate effectively can benefit all types of groups, whether they are informal or legally incorporated organisations.” said project researcher Dr Peter Ampt, Sydney Institute of Agriculture, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney.

Project researchers will share some key project insights, mapping information and guides, and cover some aspects that local groups need to consider in different circumstances and will be there to answer any questions you might have.

Come along and be part of a facilitated discussion on:

• Learning from local experiences: get inspired by the progress, achievements and aspirations of local groups in your area

• Demystifying legal frameworks: invited legal experts will help you figure out what is right for you

• Sharing monitoring data for landscape benefits: using the revamped Landcare Gateway group sites, and how GIS mapping info can help

Legal experts from the Australian Earth Laws Alliance will also be there to answer any questions about group governance, and will present their new handy guide which will be provided for free. It covers the advantages and disadvantages of incorporated and unincorporated structures, principles for successful collaboration, and what groups need to set up and think about at different stages of their collaboration.

The workshop will be held on Monday 11 December, 5:30-7:30pm, at the CWA Hall, 14 Market St, Mudgee. Attendance is free with light refreshments provided.

For more information contact Emily Berry on 0432 174 850 or, or Alex Baumber on 02 9514 4671 or

Please RSVP by 4 December to Emily Berry on 0432 174 850 or

This event is supported by the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales and is a part of the Landholder Collaboration Project funded by the NSW Environmental Trust.

More information on the project is available on their website: