Having a Fire

Reducing the risk of fire

To reduce the risk of fire in your home and nearby vegetation, you first need to assess your home and garden for potential hazards. Use the table below to identify what you can do to prevent and prepare for fire inside and outside your home and in your garden.

Outside and inside the home

Part of the home Recommendations for reducing the risk of fire
Roof
  • 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 balonies 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
  • Install an internal domestic sprinkler system
  • Install multipurpose dry powder extinguishers in the house and outbuildings
  • Install smoke alarms and make sure they are active

In the garden

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.

Use the table below as a guide to landscaping your garden.

Priority zone Recommendations for reducing the risk of fire
Priority zone 1 Create a defensible space or safety zone around your home.

  • Establish lawns, paths, drives and clultivated 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 crown fires.

  • 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

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