Four simple steps could save your life.
Fires in dense bushland can be very hot, intense and fast moving.
Burning embers may be blown from the bush, landing on your property and starting spot fires or setting fire to your home.
Embers may land for many hours even after the main fire front has passed.
Smoke and fire may affect driveways or homes, making it difficult to leave. The radiant heat from a fire nearby may set fire to your home or surrounds.
Grass fires can start easily and spread quickly, not only destroying homes but also crops and endangering lives. Grass fires can move much faster than a bush fire, catching people off guard.
The NSW Rural Fire Service advises the following:
DISCUSS Step 1: Discuss what to do if a fire was to threaten your property.
PREPARE Step 2: Prepare your home and get ready for fire season.
Keep grass low and cleared an area around your home. Keep gutters clear and move away piles of dead trees or rubbish from the property.
There are a number of things which can affect the way a fire burns,these need to be taken into account when preparing your fire plan.
Slope: a fire travelling uphill will travel faster. A fire can double its speed. As a fire speeds up, it becomes more intense and dangerous.
Vegetation: smaller items such as twigs, branches and leaves are known as fine fuels. Weather: when it's hot, dry and windy, fires can be more intense and unpredictable.
Strong winds send a fire in different directions and cause burning embers to be blown through the air.
KNOW Step 3: Know your bush fire alert levels.
Living with the bush means you are aware of the chance of a bush fire. A bush or grass fire can happen at any time of the year but the risk is higher during the warmer months. Even if your home is on acres of cleared land, you may still be at risk.
If there is a fire in your area you will find its alert level on the NSW RFS website and in the Fires Near Me app. You need to keep track of the alert level so you know what you should do.
KEEP Step 4: Keep all the bushfire information numbers, listen to radio updates and check the Fires near me app.
It’s important that you stay up to date on conditions in your area so you can plan to evacuate with plenty of time if need be. Prepare for bush fire season, ensure you and your family stay safe.
A bush fire can be a terrifying situation. Strong gusty winds, intense heat and thick heavy smoke will sting your eyes and choke your lungs making it difficult to see and breathe.
You may be very isolated. People who are at higher risk such as children, the elderly or disabled should always leave early. Visit: rfs.nsw.gov.au for more information.
Featured in Rural Life magazine