Resilient residents fired up to get gardens ready for bushfire season

Published on: Thursday, August 24, 2023

Residents in the City of Swan and beyond are being urged to have bushfire preparedness at the front of their minds ahead of another long, hot summer.

To help them prepare, the City of Swan hosted a firewise gardens workshop last month in partnership with Gidgegannup Men’s Shed.

The free workshop was presented by Debbie Screen, City of Swan Community Fire Management Officer, who said the “fantastic turnout” was encouraging to see.

People came from Gidgegannup, Mundaring, Parkerville, Morangup and Bakers Hill to attend the workshop.

They were keen to learn what they could do with their gardens to mitigate fire risk, including those rebuilding after the 2021 Wooroloo bushfire disaster.

Ms Screen (pictured above) said having bushfire preparation discussions in the cooler months was vital to managing risk during bushfire season.

“Fire preparedness is a year-round commitment,” she said.

“Staging garden and property management works is key and using the cooler months to do heavy clearing and garden redesigns prevents you having to do it when the weather gets hotter.”

She said there was no “silver bullet” to fireproofing your home.

Instead, residents should take a holistic approach to bushfire preparedness and the many factors that can mitigate risk.

 “One of these factors is creating an asset-protection zone around your house which is an area of lower fuel. This can help reduce the impact of fire on your home,” she said.

“One of my key tips is to keep your vegetation low around your house and use the times-three rule.

“When you get a seedling, make sure you know its full height at maturity, then take its mature height and multiply it by three – that’s how far away you should plant it from your house.

“So if the plant is 1m high at maturity, plant it 3m away from your home. This formula helps you build a safer asset protection zone.”

The workshop also highlighted the importance of ensuring properties can be easily accessed by firefighters during an emergency.

“Focusing on clearing firebreaks and driveways to provide safe access for emergency vehicles is a great way we can assist our local volunteer brigades during of fire response,” Ms Screen said.

“This, in combination with their well-designed asset-protection gardens, means their homes have a better chance of surviving a bushfire.”

The firewise gardens workshop was one of a series of free Thinking Green workshops run by the City to support sustainable community living.

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