With the recent fires raging not so far from the Central Coast, now is the time to make sure we are all fully prepared for the bushfire season officially underway.
Council, the Rural Fire Service (RFS) and Fire and Rescue NSW have a range of tools and documents to help you Prepare, Act, Survive.
The best advice is to prepare a Bush Fire Survival Plan, talk to your family about what to do in the event of a bushfire, and take some simple steps to prepare your property for the season ahead.
The biggest cause of house loss is from ember attack, which can trigger a fire both before and after the main bushfire front has passed, so it’s important your home is bushfire ready. Make sure you:
Clear leaves from gutters on a regular basis or better still install a gutter guard
Mow any long and dry grass around your house and rake up all leaves
Store firewood, mulch and woodpiles away from the house
Face the vents on an LPG tanks away from the house
Install metal fly screens on windows and doors to ember-proof your home
Remove any materials or structures from fire breaks and fire trails on public land that may impede emergency services personnel from getting to your property.
With Christmas and New Year in the middle of bushfire season, you may not be home when bushfires start - keep informed by downloading the RFS ‘Fires Near Me’ mobile app. And if you haven’t already, follow us on Twitter and Facebook to receive emergency updates in the event of a bushfire, storm or flood.
While you’re working hard to protect your home, we are working hard to prepare the Coast in case there is a fire.
We manage more than 21,700 hectares of bushfire prone land across the Central Coast, including 125 fire trails (which equates to 156 kilometres of land).
We have a Bushfire Mitigation Program in place, and in the last financial year, spent more than $1.4million on establishing, maintaining and upgrading fire trails, fire breaks and conducting hazard reduction burning.
Fire trails play an important role in the event of a fire as they are built to provide access for fire management - they also allow the RFS easy access for hazard reduction burns.
In Kincumba Mountain Reserve, a 180 metre section of the Sid Pulsford Trail has saved Council around $50,000 a year in maintenance costs after it was upgraded – installing corrugated concrete along the road has proved cost efficient and improves access along the fire trail.
Two sections of the Mardi Fire Trail have also been upgraded with corrugated concrete between Old Maitland and Scaddens Ridge Roads.
Some of the other ways we make sure we’re prepared in case of a fire include:
Maintaining fire breaks on Council land behind houses to reduce direct flame contact, and provide space for firefighters and residents to defend properties
Maintaining fire trails on Council land
Hazard reduction burns, planned and carried out with the NSW Rural Fire Service and Fire and Rescue NSW
Providing bushfire information in areas identified as being at significant bushfire risk
Implementing development controls to help minimise the impact of bushfires on new development and dwelling additions in bushfire prone areas.
Our bushfire mitigation works complement the works you’re doing in and around your home.