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Drought brings bush fires to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland area.


Australia is one of the most bushfire-prone continents on earth.  Fire prevention and protection of your family and assets is your responsibility.   The SunshineCoast Hinterland area generally does not face the problems of drought too often but when it does bush fires can be as devastating for the area.

 

Bushfire is recognised as a major threat to rural communities, but it is not only rural areas that are at risk - people living in suburban or semi-rural areas such as the Sunshine Coast Hinterland need to take precautions.  

These risks increase as more people come to our area and build in the semi-rural areas.

(Photo left:-  Even the Sunshine Coast Hinterland can suffer from droughts.)

To minimise the risk to you and your property, there are a few simple measures you can undertake around your property:

• Clear scrub and undergrowth around your property – they are potential fuel for a fire.

• Keep grassed areas well trimmed and watered.

• Clear gutters of leaves and rubbish.

• Store flammable items such as wood-piles, boxes, outdoor furniture and paper well away from the house.

• Make sure a hose and reserve water supply e.g. swimming pool, tank is easily accessible.   Know what to do when a bushfire approaches.

• By taking steps to protect your property, you can reduce the risk of fire.  Fires are usually started by embers that collect in crevices or blow into scrub or dead leaves on or near the house.

• Often homes burned during bushfires have been abandoned, with many catching fire hours after the main fire front has passed.    By staying, you can put out small fires as they start.

• Bushfires move quickly and are unpredictable.  Don’t make a last-minute decision to evacuate.  If you do decide to leave your home, leave early.  Every year we see many communities, including our own threatened by fire – and we need to prepare ourselves now for this year’s bushfire season.

By reducing potential fuel during the cooler months – either through burning off, or cutting back overgrown vegetation, householders can reduce the risk to their property during high fire danger periods.  Good housekeeping reduces the threat to homes, and this includes clearing scrub and undergrowth from around the property, trimming grassed areas right back, keeping them well watered, and making sure gutters are clear of leaves and rubbish.  Be a good neighbour and lend a hand to others who are unable to clear their own land.  Together reduce your fire risks.

Photo Right shows how vulnerable properties even in apparently open areas.

 

It pays to keep yourproperty clean around the surrounds.

 

Preventative measures include:

• Clearing scrub and undergrowth around homes - they are potential fuel for a fire;
• Keeping grassed areas well trimmed and watered;
• Clearing firebreaks around homes in rural or rural fringe areas.

Landholders must contact their local fire warden or fire station for a "Permit to Light Fire" if they want to light an open fire larger than 2 metres.  During periods of fire threat take notice of your local fire fighters as their advice can be not only invaluable but life saving.

They do not ask that you do certain things just for fun.

Cigarette butts thrown on the side of the roadway is one of the biggest starters of grass fires.  These fires can very quickly get out of control and thus threaten houses.

Please dispose of cigarette butts correctly and don't pollute the environment..

 

When building a home in fire prone areas it is important to consider
some basic safety design principles and they include:

* Build on flat ground on a concrete slab.   If you build on a slope fit the house into the slope rather than have it supported on poles

* Make sure you build in a location where there is a fuel break around the home.   Keep grass cut short close to the home and remove fallen limbs, and branches that would provide fire fuel

* Plant trees and shrubs away from the home

* Keep the exterior design of the house simple and avoid crevices or cracks where burning material can lodge

* Fit vents in walls, under floor and eaves with spark proof metal plates that can be easily fixed in place during a bushfire emergency

* Fit vents in walls, under floor and eaves with spark proof metal plates that can be easily fixed in place during a bushfire emergency

* Consider installing firescreens to go over windows to prevent the glass from cracking in radiant heat

* Avoid decorative timberwork such as trellis, and latticework on exposed areas of the building.   Remember timber balconies and decks are also high danger areas for trapping burning debris and should be kept to a minimum

* Make sure you have any chimneys screened off to stop embers blowing down the chimney during the fire and entering the home

* In designing the home ensure the use of leafless guttering or if allowed by council install ground level rubble drain collectors

 

It is important to have a fire escape plan.   If you never use it you are lucky.   Make sure everyone in the home knows what the plan is and what is their duty.   Don't dismiss the importance of this step because you may think that it is frivilous or unnecessary.   Remember that it is your love ones lives that may be at risk.

Too often we believe that "it will not happen to me" but just look at the television news and see how often these sorts of mishaps do occur.

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"Fact is stranger than fiction....."