Bigger Better Bushfires

I can’t bear the thought of clearing it to make what they call an “asset protection zone” around my house and around other assets that I value. What will happen to the small birds, wallabies, possums, echidnas, goannas, water dragons etc. who provide us with much entertainment? But lately other news has been intruding into my inactivity concerning bushfires. Things like:

  • 2023 was the world’s hottest year on record
  • in many places, temperatures reached over 50°
  • people have died when they couldn’t find a cool place
  • the atmosphere has a lot more energy causing hotter more frequent heat waves, colder winters, stronger storms, worse floods, longer droughts
  • many bushfires are not like we remember them 20 years ago. They are bigger, hotter, harder to control. I’ve been told I need to update my thinking.

All this information has finally convinced me that my little house may well burn down in the next bushfire unless I change my ways and do something! So I read about asset protection zones and learnt that you don’t need to remove all plants.

Bigger Better Bushfires

Trees and shrubs can be left provided they are separated horizontally by several metres, and no branches overhang the roof. I also learnt that the speed the fire travels is dependent on the amount of leaf litter and fine sticks on the ground. Remove these, leaving just enough to provide protection from soil erosion.

My house is on a slope and fire travels faster uphill, so the protection zone should be wider on the downhill side. There is a lot more information on the Rural Fire Service (RFS) and Council websites.

Working hard, I am about half way through my “Things to do” list. I have just prepared a Bush Fire Survival Plan which I found rather challenging. I am also aware that if we get a fire when the Fire Danger Rating is Catastrophic or Extreme, the fire will probably be a monster like we see on TV.

Because I am so close to the bush, I will leave well before the fire arrives and find a safe place. I’ll be surprised if my house survives. If the Fire Danger Rating is High or Moderate, my house might survive because of my good preparation. That thought keeps me going.

I wonder how many other local landowners have gone through the same change of attitude as me. In Landcare, we are not bushfire experts, but if you want to talk about these issues, contact Barry Lees on 9653 3691 or go to or email [email protected] or on Facebook.