Reducing the Fire Risk around the Home

Reducing the Fire Risk around the Home

Reducing the risk of fire around the home

To reduce the risk of fire in your home and nearby vegetation, you first need to assess your home and garden for potential hazards.

Roof:

  • Remove overhanging branches
  • Remove overhanging branches
  • Remove branches within 3 metres of your chimney
  • Clean all dead leaves and needles from your roof and gutters
  • Consider installing spark-arrestor mesh in chimneys

Walls:

  • Use fire resistant materials, such as stucco, brick, concrete block
  • Prevent wood-clad walls from cracking or drying out Windows
  • Clear thick vegetation within 10 metres of windows
  • Consider double-glazing in windows that face large areas of vegetation
  • Limit the size and number of windows in your home that face large areas of vegetation
  • Consider solid shutters made of non-flammable material

Eaves, vents and openings:

  • Cover the outside attic and under-floor vents with corrosion-resistant, 3mm wire mesh
  • Cover eaves, attic and under-floor with solid, non-flammable, protective shutters
  • Have inside access to attics and crawlspaces to put out spot fires that may occur

Balconies, decks and porches:

  • Build balconies and deck surfaces with non-combustible materials
  • Enclose eaves, balconies and undersides of overhangs with 12mm non-flammable sheathing
  • Build stilts from non-combustible material – heavy timbers are best

Inside your home

To reduce the risk of fire in your garden, establish priority zones around your home. Priority zones are areas around your home will help reduce the risk of fire damaging or destroying your home.

Priority zone Recommendations for reducing the risk of fire

Download the Fire Smart Home Owners Manual 

Priority zone 1

Create a defensible space or safety zone around your home.

  • Establish lawns, paths, drives and cultivated soil between buildings and flammable vegetation
  • Saw or prune all dead or dried up branches, twigs and leaves from existing vegetation, and remove
  • Compost, mulch or remove any section or yard waste materials
  • Convert remaining vegetation to less fire-prone species
  • Thin and prune vegetation away from the immediate area of your home
  • Store firewood, building material or other combustible debris piles away from your home – at least 10 metres during the fire season

Priority zones 2 and 3

Create environments that will not support high-intensity fires in the crown of closely spaced trees and high shrubs.

  • Thin the forest canopy by removing whole trees so that the crowns do not touch
  • Remove over-mature, dead or dying trees
  • Thin the understory trees to reduce the chances of surface fires climbing into the canopy
  • Prune all large trees and remove all branches at least 2 metres from the ground
  • Remove trees and overhanging limbs that are close to power lines
  • Get rid of slash from the pruning promptly
  • Replace highly flammable plants with those that are less flammable

Download a copy of the Native Garden Species Flammability Guide here: