We are already starting to see new growth of native plants in the bush. Species that recover quickly include Xanthorrhoea (grass trees) and zamia palms, these plants typically show regrowth within a few days of a fire.
At this point some eucalypts are beginning to send up epicormic growth, this is new shoots from the base of the tree or along branches depending on the heat of the fire in your area. This is a good sign and means that the trees were not killed by the fire and are trying to recover.
What can you do to help:
- If you previously had bushland on your property and it has been burnt, it is important to protect it to allow it a chance to recover. The best way to do this, is ensure stock are excluded from these areas as they will graze on the new growth and their hooves will disturb the soil.
- Avoid walking through the areas you want to protect, put up a simple starpicket and white ‘sightline’ fence around the area to prevent people walking through it, you want to avoid disturbing the surface of the soil as much as possible to allow the plants to return.
- Monitor the area and take pictures of it from the same location once a week – you will see an amazing recovery that you can look back on.
- Keep an eye out for weeds as they come up in the next few months – use the Plants out of Place booklet(PDF, 3MB) to I.D. them and remove or control them.
- If you are feeling disheartened, take a drive down Stoneville Rd towards the Mundaring Town Centre – as you get to the corner of Stoneville Rd and Riley Rd stop and have a look. This location was completely burnt out in the Parkerville-Stoneville-Mt Helena fires in 2014 and now the native plants have recovered – your area will too!
The City of Swan supplies native seedlings to rural residents. Please read about the revegetation program.
With the removal of canopy and undergrowth, native animals have lost their normal hidey-holes and are dangerously exposed to predators like foxes and feral cats within the burnt area. Even simple things can make a lot of difference for small mammals, lizards and other ground dwelling animals.
What you can do to help:
- Old terracotta drain pile or even PVC pipes left outside in quiet areas can make hides for quenda – place sections of pipe on the ground and lay a branch or even some leaves over one end to give them shelter
- Remember that even though some trees seem burned from the outside, they may recover in the next few months and if they don’t, large trees provide hollows and roosts for birds – try to only remove damaged trees that are causing an immediate risk to your buildings or people.
- Even fallen trees are forming habitat for insects and reptiles, as well as providing food for echidnas as termites gradually break the logs down into the soil – consider leaving fallen trees in areas of natural bushland or are out of the way on your property.
- A simple shelter for small animals can be made by placing a pallet on the ground and placing leafy tree branches over the top to make a ‘hide’.
- Place water out for native animals at various heights (for birds as well as ground animals) but avoid feeding them, as they can become dependent on this food.
- Consider building or buying a nest box for your property – placing them in trees, they can replace some of the hollows that may have been lost as part of the fire. Backyard Buddies has a guide on constructing nest boxes.
- If you see injured wildlife, contact the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055. For more information on transporting injured wildlife, visit Emergency care for injured animals.
Fire management on your property
Visit the Fire dashboard for the latest updates and information in support of the Wooroloo fires – including returning to your property, financial support, counselling, ways to help, pets and animal welfare, and access.
The Fire Season Guide booklet includes vital information on fire safety on your property, bushfire management plans, asset protection zones, firebreaks and fire service access, burning restrictions, fire safety bans and hazard reduction.
With the recentrain, it is quite likely that weeds will begin germinating within the burnt and unburnt areas of properties. Post fire is the best time to tackle weeds, as they are small and easy to remove. If you are planning to use chemical control it requires much less chemical to control a smaller plant than with a full grown weed plant.
What you can do about it:
- Use the ID guide(PDF, 3MB) and keep an eye on new plants germinating.
- With more rainfall, many of these weeds will be easier to hand remove than normal so take the opportunity.
- In garden areas, make sure to replace any weeds with plants to fill the space, otherwise it’s quite likely another weed will grow back in its place.
- In bushland areas, remove weeds but do not plant – this will allow the local native plants to recover faster.
- Where possible, look to guard plantings and new growth from kangaroos and rabbits (mesh tree bags and stakes will help reduce rabbit impact, mesh fencing where appropriate such as around veg patches).
Free weed control supplies
The City has partnered with Gidgegannup Rural to assist in the fire recovery efforts by providing free weed control supplies to residents impacted by the bushfires.
If your property has been affected, you can pick up your free supply of herbicides from 1516 Toodyay Rd, Gidgegannup. You will need to provide proof of ID, your address and the size of your property.
If you have any questions, please call our Bushfire Recovery team on 0438 242 356 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Designing a more firewise garden
If your garden has been fire affected or you are looking at a more fire-defendable design for your landscaping, take some time to plan a layout that is appropriate for your location.
What can you do about it:
- Select species that meet the Firewise Selection List(PDF, 343KB) and target species that meet the more firewise criteria.
- In the 20-30 metre area surrounding your home, look at more firewise low shrubs, irrigated grass, groundcovers, concrete/stone pathways.
- Reduce the height of vegetation within that 20-30 metre zone gradually from trees at the edge, to shrubs and down to groundcovers so that only low groundcovers or concrete/stone pathways should be within 3 metres of your house – think of this 20-30m area like a ‘bowl’, with taller trees on the ‘rim’ of the bowl, shrubs in the middle and gradually sloping down to groundcovers at the ‘bottom’ of the bowl next to your house.
- Do not plant alongside doors or windows.
- Maintain the 20-30m area by removing dead branches, leaf litter and pruning low hanging tree branches – separate planted garden beds from each other with pathways to ensure that there is a balance between vegetation and non-flammable paths/walkways closer to your home.
Refer to the Country Fire Association (CFA) Guide for Landscaping for Bushfire for ideas of layouts (please note that the plants listed in this guide are not native to WA, so use the native species guide(DOCX, 36KB) instead).
Native species selection for gardening and revegetation
Choosing local native WA plants saves water, provides food for local native animals and with careful species selection can provide a year round array of flowering plants. Thanks to the Shire of Mundaring for providing the below native plants list.
Refer to the native species list(DOCX, 36KB) which lists common native species found in Gidgegannup and surrounding area (please use this list alongside the Firewise Plant Selection Guide(PDF, 343KB) and manage the heights and density of plants within 20-30 metres of your home for safety).
Erosion on your property
Erosion control measures are critical to reduce the amount of productive topsoil blown away in the wind, or washed downhill into dams and waterways. Soil is left more exposed after fire and ash can cause significant problems in water bodies.
With more rainfall likely before vegetation starts to re-establish, please refer to the Erosion Control infosheet(PDF, 4MB) for ideas to reduce further damage to your property.