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Make your property safe from bushfire

There are many things you can do to make your house and property fire safe.

See also: Living in the Bush Workbook

Before the fire season
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  • Keep grass cut
  • Reduce ‘fine fuels’ - Fine fuels are things such as long dry grass, fallen leaves and twigs. Anything smaller in diameter than your little finger is a fine fuel and it is these that you need to clean up around your property
  • Clear away dead undergrowth, and fallen branches
  • Move wood piles away from your home
  • Clean leaves out of gutters
  • Plant trees and shrubs away from your home
  • Plant a protective shield of trees around the house to slow the wind, cut down radiant heat and catch flying embers and sparks from a bushfire
  • Place weather stripping around the inside of doors and windows
  • Close underfloor spaces and seal all gaps where embers could enter
  • Make firescreens to go over windows to prevent the glass from cracking in radiant heat
  • Mains water supply may not be a reliable source during a fire as the water pressure may drop. Make sure that you have access to adequate water supplies, such as tanks, dams, swimming pools or water reserves. Install a sprinkler system around your home
  • Power may go off - so don't rely on electrical pumps for supply of water
  • Gather appropriate firefighting equipment such as ladders, hoses, buckets, mops, portable water pumps, a ladder, rake, a torch, and a knapsack spray to put out small "spot" fires

Native Vegetation Removal

The native vegetation removal exemptions for wildfire safety have changed. To meet the exemption residents must undertake a site assessment and prepare a plan which is then lodged with DSE. Find out more and download the plan template...

Clearing fine fuels away from LPG cylinders
Raking ground fuels such as fallen bark and leaves away from the home
Clearing gutters and spoutings

Before the fire front arrives
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  • Dress in personal protective clothing to protect from radiant heat
  • Shut all windows and doors to prevent smoke and flames from entering the house
  • Move furniture away from the windows to prevent sparks from entering the house through a broken window and catching alight in the furniture, which often burns easily
  • Put a ladder under the manhole and torch nearby for checking ceiling space for any embers that may have landed
  • Fill the bath and buckets with water to provide a water supply in the house for putting out any small fires that may start
  • Soak towels and woollen blankets with water ready to put on any spot fires that might start inside the house
  • Place wet blankets or towels around window and door edges inside the house to stop smoke and embers from entering the house
  • Hose down the side of the house facing the fire, and garden area close to the house, to cool the house down and stop it from burning
  • Patrol your property for any embers and extinguish them

During the fire
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  • Go inside when it becomes too hot to stay outside. The skin on your ears and hands will alert you that conditions have become too hot to survive outside. Your home will protect you from radiant heat while the fire front passes through – typically taking around 10 to 20 minutes
  • Take all firefighting equipment inside with you, including tap fittings and hoses
  • Stay inside your house while the fire front passes and listen to the radio for fire reports

After the fire front has passed
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  • Continue to wear your personal protective clothing
  • After the main fire front passes, go outside again as soon as it is safe, to extinguish any small fires that may have started
  • Water down the outside of the house, including the roof, and look out for small fires around your house
  • Continue to look out for small fires and burning embers many hours after the fire has passed. Check for burning embers:
    • inside the roof
    • under the floor boards
    • under house spaces
    • on verandahs and wooden decking
    • on timber window ledges and door sills
    • roof lines and roof gutters
    • outdoor furniture
    • doormats
    • garden beds and mulch
    • wood heaps

Find out more about making a bushfire survival plan
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