Bushfire Risk & Management Strategy
Australians are all too familiar with the devastating power and threat posed by bushfires. Unfortunately, this threat is only growing as fires become more dangerous and bushfire seasons get longer due to the impact of climate change. As such, it is important that we are all aware of what constitutes ‘high risk’ in bushfire season and that we do our best to mitigate these risks.
When it comes to implementing a Bushfire Risk & Management Strategy, it’s important to act early and act often. This means having a solid management plan in place and regularly assessing and maintaining the health and risk level of your trees. Luckily you don’t have to do this alone. Our professional arborists have all the experience and training needed to ensure that your property is kept as safe as possible.
Assess your property’s fire risk
Early identification and intervention is the most effective means of reducing the risk of bushfires on your property. By proactively searching for any heightened fire hazards, you will be able to address them prior to fire season and reduce the risk to your property.
If you’re unsure what to look for, you can use the services of a professional arborist. They can help to devise and implement risk mitigation strategies that can dramatically lower the chances of destructive fires being fuelled by your trees.
Pro-arborist reports are a means of collecting data on the current condition of your trees and surrounding vegetation. This information is essential to preparing for bushfire season and should be done well before the fire season has begun.
As will be discussed below, these assessments help to identify any dangerous trees or tree branches, any breaches of power line clearance guidelines and any weaknesses in the fire security of your property. It is highly recommended that you employ the services of a qualified arborist as they are trained to see what many will not.
This can include structural weaknesses in large trees, potential infestations that could compromise the stability of trees as well as a whole host of key identifiers that can make a big difference in your Bushfire Risk and Management Strategy.
Identify ‘high risk’ trees
There are many reasons why a tree on your property could be considered a ‘high risk’ for the spread of fires. If it is a large mature tree that has begun to weaken through age, it could be a risk of structural collapse. Trees that have been neglected could become overgrown, thus providing too much fuel for a fire. Trees that have become imbalanced are vulnerable to both adding fuel and helping the fire to jump gaps in the trees.
In the case of dangerous trees, it is helpful to have a professional arborist help determine whether the risks can be removed through tactical lopping and pruning, or whether a complete tree removal is required. In many cases of high risk trees, the safest option is to cut down and extract the tree to ensure that it cannot aid in the spread of bushfires.
While large mature trees pose the biggest and most obvious risk during bushfire season, tree branches can also be a threat to the safety of your home in the event of a fire. Left unkempt and uncared for, tree branches can easily become overgrown and overweight. This presents several challenges during periods of bushfire. Firstly, an overgrown branch is more susceptible to the impact of wind. This places extra stress on both the structure of the branch and the structure of the entire tree.
Secondly, overweight branches are a greater risk of falling and provide more fuel for the fire. It is therefore essential that your tree branches are kept well-pruned and monitored to ensure they don’t creep into the ‘high risk’ category. Overgrown tree branches around your property could fuel the spread of fire, however overhanging branches could enable a fire to directly reach your house. Any overhanging branches must be trimmed back and, if the risk is high, be lopped from the tree for the safety of your home. The other major hazard associated with tree branches involves not just the spread of fire, but the potential to start a fire: branches near power lines.
Power Line Clearance
Overgrown tree branches near electric power lines is a high risk of both spreading fires and starting them. Our crews can help you to identify any branches or canopies that are too close to electricity sources, or could come in contact with electricity during periods of high wind.
For the maintenance of a reliable Bushfire Risk & Management Strategy it is important that you monitor the proximity of your trees to your power lines all year round. If any of your trees are close to power lines, or if you are unsure whether your trees are a safe distance, contact our friendly specialists today.
Conduct BAL assessment
BAL stands for bushfire attack level and is a resource which enables you to understand how at risk your property is to potential fires. Australian Trees aren’t the only things which pose a fire risk to your property, surrounding vegetation can also be easy fuel for fires. Depending on the type of vegetation, the distance from your property and the slope it is planted on, it can have varying fire risks. You can calculate your BAL here.
Create an evacuation plan
Even after you have assessed your property for fire dangers and taken the necessary precautions, you need to create an evacuation plan. This plan should include creating an emergency kit (made up of basic essentials), your evacuation route and destination, and how you will prepare your home before you leave (turning off gas supply, closing windows and doors, partially filling gutters with water etc). Choosing to leave your property during a fire is a difficult decision, but it is ultimately a choice which can save lives. Use the CFA Victoria’s Leave Early template to help create your evacuation plan and ensure to brief all family members and household residents on the plan.
Even after completing your BAL, arborist assessment and creating your bushfire excavation plan, you still need to stay vigilant for any potential fire risks. Whether it’s a fallen branch or particularly strong winds, it doesn’t take long for your property’s fire risk to suddenly change. Ensure you are across all relevant fire updates by checking your state or territory’s SES service as well as via local radio and news websites and tracking fires on your smartphone with ‘Fires Near Me’ app.
The Jim’s Difference
For the protection of our communities against the immense threat of bushfires it is important that we all work together. This means all residents with trees on their property are taking proactive measures to implement Bushfire Risk & Management Strategies. With the help of our arborists, we can make sure that fire risks are mitigated and that we can safely enjoy the beauty of our trees.
In these cases, there is no one better than Jim’s Tree & Stump Removal to help. Our crews can remove any hazardous trees, grind the stumps, wood chip the remaining green waste and remove it all from your property.
For help keeping your property bushfire ready, give us a call on 131546 or fill out the online quote request form today.