Minimising Bushfire Risk

Planning for bushfires. How to reduce the impacts of a bushfire on your property.

Jenny Dewing, Yarri Farm and Kangaroo Gully Bushfire Brigade.

Setting the scene:

A 2016 publication from the Climate Institute of Australia recently examined common statements about bushfires and climate change.

Importantly for landholders here the following facts were highlighted

  • Extreme fire weather has increased and the fire season has lengthened, across large parts of Australia. This means that the fire season pushes into both spring and autumn.

  • For southwest Western Australia the number of days per year with severe fire danger weather is  projected to nearly double by 2090 under higher global warming scenarios.

So we can expect our properties to be threatened and impacted by fire. It’s not if but when.

 

 

Threats to your property in the event of a bushfire.

  • Understanding fire behaviour. Slopes and hills. There are plenty of these around Bridgetown.

  • Native vegetation such as bush, creeklines and the Blackwood River foreshore. Different vegetation types burn at different temperatures.

  • Pasture and grass fires

  • Managing stock in a fire

Assets that you have or can develop

  • A fire fighting water supply including fittings, access and pumps

  • Other firefighting equipment

  • Roads, Fire tracks, grade banks etc What roads, tracks, driveways, dams and other low fuel areas that could act as fire breaks do you already have?  Fire-breaks or low fuel area will not necessarily STOP fire however it can SLOW and REDUCE the intensity of the fire front and provide access for fire fighting.

  • Strategic pasture management

  • Using veggie gardens, orchards, green lawns, swimming pools, rock walls and other bare areas to assist with fire protection.

  • Fire Protection Zone around your house.

  • Developing your bushfire management skills. Join your local brigade and get free training.

Other important information

  • Shire fire regulations

  • Emergency WA website

  • Fire Ratings, Total Fire bans, Vehicle movement bans

  • Information for Fire Fighters   Your map for fire fighters. There are some pieces of information which will greatly assist Fire Fighters in defending your property.

  • Sources of further information.

https://www.emergency.wa.gov.au/

https://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/

Fire Retardant Trees and Shrubs
This is adapted from the Zanthorrea and FESA lists, specifically for the Blackwood Valley.
It is cross checked with the top 100 “Garden Thugs” to make sure that the species recommended are not environmental weeds in the Blackwood Valley.

It is not a question of exotic versus natives, some exotics burn readily, and many natives are fire retardant.


You want your garden plants to survive a fire and grow again after the fire. Don’t get carried away removing all the native plants from your garden as these are the favoured food source for many birds and they provide year-round habitat whereas deciduous trees are bare in winter. It is a question of common sense and balance.

TREES (Native to Australia)
Plants that naturally occur in the Blackwood Valley are marked (L).
Lilly Pilly - Acmena smithii
Apple Jack - Angophora costata
Kurrajong - Brachychiton populneus
River Sheoak - Casuarina cunninghamiana
Spotted Gum - Corymbia maculata
Silky Oak - Grevillea robusta
Native Frangipani - Hymenosporum flavum
Moonah - Melaleuca lanceolata


TREES (Exotic)
Box Elder Maple - Acer negundo
Evergreen Alder - Alnus joruliemnsis
Carob - Ceratonia siliqua
Ash - Fraxanus spp. (But not Desert Ash)
Oaks - Quercus spp.
Liquidamber - Liquidamber stryaciflua
Red Leaf photinia - Photinia glabra
Chinese Hawthorn - Photinia serrulata


SHRUBS (Australian Native)
Golden Wattle - Acacia saligna (L)
Warren River Cedar - Agonis junipterina
Kangaroo Paw - Anigozanthos spp.(L)
Orthrosanthos spp.(L)
Native Iris - Patersonia spp.(L)
White Correa - Correa alba
Dianella spp.(L)

SHRUBS (exotic)
Camellia spp.
Hibiscus spp.
Rhododendron - Rhododendron spp.
Hydrangea - Hydrangea spp.
Mexican Orange Blossom - Choisya ternata
Hebe - Hebe albicans


GROUND COVERS (Australian Native)
Pig Face - Carbobrotus spp.
Dichondra repens
Coral Vine - Kennedia spp.(L)
Lippia - Phyla nodiflora
Weeping Grass - Microlaena stipoides (L)
Perennial Native Grass


GROUND COVERS (Exotic)
Bugle Flower - Ajuga reptans
Gazania spp.
Geranium - Pelargonium spp
Rosemary - Rosmarinus officinalis
Crucinella - Verbena erinoides

Key Reference: Fire Retardant Plants, a Gardening Info leaflet from Zanthorrea Nursery in Perth.