Vernice Komatsu Excavator

How To Create A Firebreak

Date: 17/09/2019

With the recent bushfires around Australia, and with more dry weather on the way entering summer, we will teach you how to create a firebreak and the importance they play in the protection against bushfires.

What is a firebreak?

A firebreak is a gap, or strip of land, where all trees, shrubs and other ‘combustible’ materials have been cleared to create a ‘fuel free’ zone. This gap provides an area of reduced fuel loads for the fire, which acts as a barrier and preventative method in stopping or slowing down the progress of a bushfire. Firebreaks are often constructed using machines including dozers, front-end loaders, tractors and skid-steer loaders. They can also be created using hand tools such as controlled back burning, ploughing and herbicide treatment, to name a few.

Step 1: Check council requirements

It is important to check with local councils surrounding firebreak requirements, and to see what your responsibilities are. Checking with local fire authorities to see when you can burn excess material and how big the fire can be is important as fire bans may be in place. Fines may be applied if you don’t maintain your property appropriately. Each local government determines their own minimum firebreak standards and how these standards apply to various property sizes.

Step 2: Clearing vegetation

To be effective, the required width for a firebreak depends on the nature of surrounding fuels. It is recommended by authorities that firebreaks be at least three metres wide to allow for vehicles to pass through. Using machinery, vegetation including trees and shrubs are cleared to create the required width and create a clearing. It is essential to prune tall trees on either side so that embers cannot get across the firebreak easily.

Step 3: Poison

To create a more effective firebreak, poison grass at the base so they do not grow back. Take precautions using poison and check how much you should use and how often it should be sprayed.

Step 4: Burning off excess green waste

Burning off excess leaves, branches, deadwood and other green waste are vital in reducing the chances of the bushfire spreading. Burning off excess waste must comply with local legal requirements, and should be small controlled burns.

Step 5: Maintaining a firebreak

Maintaining a firebreak throughout the year can prepare you for the incoming bushfire seasons. Cutting down grasses and trees in winter and autumn can help to ensure you are ready for the possibility of a bushfire in the drier months.

Contact Vernice Today

Vernice has been supplying professional plant hire and service excellence since 1960. Firebreaks require careful planning, design and construction as inappropriate installations can be ineffective. Within our range of services, we can provide wet hire in creating firebreaks for civil or residential purposes within Western Australia. Contact us today!

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