Bushfires can cause massive destruction of lives and property. But they are preventable. Find out what you need to do to avoid bushfires on your property.
As you know, bushfires can be devastating. It can cause immense damage to property and pose significant risks to lives.
But did you know that there are areas that are more prone to experiencing bushfires?
These are called bushfire zones. And they experience bushfires more often due to their geographical location, climate, and vegetation. While bushfires are a significant concern in many parts of the world, it’s especially true in Australia. They have historically been prevalent after all.
According to data from Save the Children, nearly 15 million acres of land have been burnt to the ground by bushfires in Australia. That’s equivalent to about 1,400 homes destroyed.
The frequency and intensity of bushfires have also been on the rise. This makes it more important than ever to consider if you’ll buy a property in a bushfire zone. And if so, you need to take preventive measures to protect your property.
That’s why in this article, we will discuss the precautions you can take to safeguard your property from the threat of bushfires.
The 7 Steps to Building A Bushfire-Safe Property
Buying property in a bushfire zone requires proactive measures to protect your asset and anyone who’d be living in it. Here are seven steps you can take to ensure a more secure future for your property:
Step 1: Figure Out if the Property is in a Bushfire Zone
Nowadays, finding out if your property is in a bushfire zone has become easier than ever. You can use tools to ascertain if your property is in a bushfire zone. And if so, which zone it is in.
One such tool is Archistar.
The platform allows you to apply visual overlays to geographic maps, enabling you to make quick, informed assessments for risks like bushfires and flooding.
This assessment is ideally done before you purchase any property. This way, you could factor in all risks before you decide to close.
But if you’ve already bought a property, it still pays to use Archistar’s bushfire layer feature. With it, you can find out if your property is indeed in a bushfire zone and its intensity level. By having this information, you could proceed with the next steps to mitigate any risks your property is in.
Step 2: Talk to a Fire Prevention Officer
When your property is in a bushfire zone, it’s important that you seek expert advice from a Fire Prevention Officer (FPO). These professionals are well-versed in assessing fire risks and can provide valuable insights tailored to your specific property.
FPOs conduct a thorough assessment of your property, taking into account its location, topography, surrounding vegetation, and potential sources of ignition. By understanding the specific risks your property faces, they can guide you in implementing personalised safety measures that will effectively protect your home from bushfires.
These officers can also help you in developing an efficient emergency evacuation plan should a bushfire happen. Typically, the plan outlines evacuation routes, safe assembly points, and critical information about nearby emergency services.
Having a well-prepared evacuation plan is essential to ensure the safety of your family and occupants during a bushfire event. And once you have that plan, regularly review and practice it with all household members to ensure everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency.
Step 3: Ember-proof the house
During bushfires, embers carried by the wind can travel long distances and start spot fires. These embers pose significant risks to any property, as they can get inside a home
To protect your property from ember intrusion, conduct a comprehensive inspection of your house for vulnerable areas. Once that’s done, you can do the following:
- Seal gaps and cracks around windows, doors, roof vents, and utility penetrations with appropriate fire-resistant materials
- Install ember-proof screens on windows and doors to prevent embers from entering your home.
- Consider using metal or non-combustible materials for roofing and exterior cladding to reduce the risk of ignition.
Step 4: Use the right materials
When building or renovating your home in a bushfire zone, choose materials that have proven fire-resistant properties.
Metal, brick, and stone are excellent choices for exterior walls as they are less likely to catch fire. These materials can also act as a barrier, protecting your property from direct flame contact during a bushfire.
Plus, consider using fire-rated windows and doors. They can withstand high temperatures and prevent flames from penetrating into your home.
Step 5: Spark-proof the house
Regular property maintenance is vital in bushfire-prone areas. Among the basic things you can do are:
- Clear away dry leaves, twigs, and other flammable debris from your roof, gutters, and surroundings.
- Prune trees and shrubs.
- Keep branches at a safe distance from your home to prevent fire from spreading from vegetation to your property.
- Properly store firewood and other combustible materials away from the house to reduce the risk of ignition.
Step 6: Have a water reserve and sprinklers
Another possible thing you can do to prevent bushfire events in your home is to install water tanks or reservoirs. These will provide a valuable water source during bushfire emergencies. And access to a sufficient water supply can aid in firefighting efforts and protect your property in case of ember intrusion.
Also, consider integrating your water reserve with strategically-placed sprinkler systems. Make sure they cover vulnerable areas, such as walls, windows, and eaves. These days, sprinklers can either be manually activated or connected to an automated system. And they’ll get triggered by heat or smoke sensors during a bushfire event.
Step 7: Landscape properly
The way you landscape your property can significantly impact its vulnerability to bushfires. Choose fire-resistant plants that are less likely to ignite. Don’t forget to keep the grass short and remove dead vegetation.
Also, maintain a well-irrigated garden to create a defensible space around your home. By defensible space, this means an area where vegetation is carefully managed to reduce the intensity and spread of a bushfire.
Make sure to space out plants to prevent fire from easily spreading to your property.
Mitigate Bushfire Risk Effectively With Archistar
Buying property in a bushfire zone requires proactive measures to protect your asset and anyone who’d be living in it. And to enhance your bushfire risk mitigation efforts…
Consider using Archistar’s bushfire layer feature. It allows allows property owners and investors to boost their bushfire risk mitigation efforts.
This feature also provides you with valuable insights into bushfire-prone areas, helping you make informed decisions when purchasing or building a property. Combined with Archistar’s data and analysis features, you can identify how you can minimise bushfire risks effectively in a particular area.
Discover how to make it happen by trying out Archistar for free today.