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Gardens that Fight Fire - How to achieve a garden that fights bush fires

 
pollinator
Posts: 276
Location: Gulgong, NSW, Australia (Cold Zone 9B, Hot Zone 6) UTC +10
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No matter where e are in the world, save the polar ice regions, bush fires, forest wild fires and grassland fires should always be a consideration for those with a garden.  Embers can travel up to 5 Km from a fire front or if the conditions are right even further. So, if you are living in an outer suburban area, lifestyle block or acreage you can be at risk from fire.  Gardens and landscapes can be designed to fight or alter the course of a fire.

Fire has a number of characteristics:
* heat and intensity;
*travels uphill faster than down hill and the speed is related to the slope;
*the amount and type of fuel determines intensity and duration;
*creates own weather patterns if large enough or intense enough:
*needs heat, fuel and oxygen to survive (Fire triangle)

From the above list, we are able to design our garden to fight fire by depriving any potential fire of one of the elements from the fire triangle, modify its run patterns and or not have fuel loads on the ground.  It is all aimed at not having your home burn down when a fire comes your way.   This is in reality, a huge topic and if we can collectively save one permies family from having their house burn down, we will be able to say a collective well done.  The other thing is to actually put it all into practice.  In 2003, a bush fire entered the outer suburbs of Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory "and over the next ten hours, four people died, over 490 were injured and over 470 houses were damaged or destroyed" (Wikipedia).

First and foremost is to do all you can do to prevent a fire from starting in your immediate area.  In Australia, over 80% of fires start from lightening strikes. so close to and around the house there needs to be a ring of fire retardant trees and plants, forming a fire shelter belt which can protect the house from radiant heat and ember attack as well as not having something that will not burn if it or your house is struck by lightening.......  The next ring is a cleared green zone made up of disrupted shapes and green.

So here we go - minimising the risk of your immediate property from catching fire. Fire is its own master once it is out of control as shown by the Walkley awarded photo journalists.

 
Paul Fookes
pollinator
Posts: 276
Location: Gulgong, NSW, Australia (Cold Zone 9B, Hot Zone 6) UTC +10
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Trees can be either fire inducing and fire retarding.

Daleys Nursery: Plants can help with fire proofing your property and are an integral part of a fire plan. Some plants are more flammable than others but keep in mind that given the right conditions all plants will burn.
Fire retardant plants can absorb more of the heat of an approaching firestorm without burning than flammable plants do. Fire retardant plants can trap embers and sparks and reduce the wind speed if correctly positioned.
In Australia, some of our fire retarding trees are:
casurina species such as River oaks and sheoaks;
fig species; and
acacia (wattle) species;
- Comprehensive list from Australian Plant Society Victoria; https://apsvic.org.au/fire-resistant-and-retardant-plants/

There is a line between planting the trees close enough to be an effective fire ring and too close so your gutter get blocked with leaves.  The alternative is to remove the gutters from the down pipes by inserting leaf filter gutter by-pass systems.  The clip is a simple low cost version but there are kits available for under $AU 40.
 
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