The current swathe of bushfires we all know about. But the intensity of the blazes and their aggressive incursions into suburban neighbourhoods should make us consider the safety of our own homes and land.
If you check the information being offered by the QFES there are many tweaks you can introduce that not only add to your resilience to bushfire, but will double up for strong wind and cyclonic conditions.
Where I live we have had 3 fires kiss the community during the last decade. When Bribie or Moreton Island burns we sure know about it either visually or through inhalation.
Herein rests the first variable:
Our location is due south of pine plantations and most of the fires that develop there are due to pure arson or the dumping and burning of stolen cars. Our vulnerability rises sharply when the wind shifts from the north east to the north and north west.
[In fact there is a network of security cameras in the plantations designed to combat these events.]
That sort of scenario -- or a variation thereof -- should apply to your location if you think it through.
The next question is acknowledging if there is a load of fuel in the path of a threatening wind.
Since I come from Victoria I have found that local councils here in Queensland are slack when it comes to fire hazard reduction on private property. In Victoria the municipality are obsessive about bushfire risk and land owners have to address the issue even in urban areas.
Just look at the recent fires at Peregian Beach...
Here, we have finally got the local sand mine to enlarge its fire break but that took a few years before the action was undertaken.
Since these fires are driven forward by wind and embers the fact that you may sit snugly in a suburban cul de sac is hardly a defence. If there is a fire nearby you could be at risk. And if you live among the ups and downs of wooded Brisbane contours you are surely more prone to unpredictable fire events.
Again Peregian Beach is notable because it was an arson caused event. All your own neighbourhood needs is naughty kids with a lighter...or a flicked cigarette from a passing motorist...or an ignite from sparks off a masonry drill.
[I can say that because I burnt down my uncle's barn when I was 4 or 5 years old.I was showing my sister how to use matches inside the hay stack. But that was the first and last time I was possessed by pyromania.The singed eyebrows were not a good look.]
So you clean out your gutters and make sure the garden is hydrated. Move dry mulch out of incendiary paths....
I like to keep the height of my trees below the lowest roof line.
Locals here have had to hose their houses when the fires came close to residences. But a better approach is to be ready to locate a couple of sprinklers on your roof. Some garden sprinklers -- like my favourite , the Wobble Tee -- are designed to sit on roofs. You can also run several off the one hose. I run 4 in my garden off the one tap.
Be ready to grab the essentials (documents, mementos, passports, insurance, doc albums and dog) and have an exit strategy ...like make sure the car is facing out of the driveway and it is packed sooner rather than later.
If we don't get good rain, the risk will prevail here in SEQ.
One further point: if you have to evacuate (because of fire, flood or storm) do your homework as you really don't want to live in an evacuation centre. We've ready set with one here and unless you are happy sleeping with dozens of others on stretches in a big hall I reckon it is preferable to call in favours from relatives and friends or live in your own car. Generally, no pets! No showers. Just bed and food...sort of.