How to prepare your property for bushfire season in Tasmania

Land Care, Tree Planting and Reveg

Tasmania is no stranger to devastating bushfires. Regardless of whether you plan to stay or leave your property during a bush fire, preparing your trees and vegetation makes it easier for you and firefighters to defend your home and assets.  

In preparation for bushfire season, property owners should have a Bushfire Attack Level assessment (BAL) completed by an accredited assessor. From there, Tasmanian Tree Care can help you carry out the recommended fire safety measures.  

Creating a Fuel Break 

A Fuel Break is an augmented area around your home where vegetation is modified and flammable materials are removed. Aimed at reducing the risk of a fire spreading, this can involve: 

  1. Clearing low vegetation 
  1. Pruning low hanging branches 
  1. Separating tree canopy 
  1. Prune trees overhanging your house 

The type of tree work your property requires depends on the recommendations from a BAL assessment, which will discern which trees pose a threat and which trees will help protect your house against embers and radiant heat.  

Clearing low vegetation 

Small trees and shrubs, especially if they are densely populated, have the potential to carry fire across large areas of land. They also pose a problem to homeowners in terms of workload, as clearing this area can be time consuming and energy intensive without the proper tools.  

Tasmanian Tree Care uses an enviro-mulcher to turn shrubs and trees into mulch. Enviro-mulching also leaves a layer of soil behind on the surface that can help suppress weeds and other regrowth.      

This method is particularly useful for clearing larger blocks, where manual weeding is not a practical option. The photos below feature the forestry mulcher in action.  

Tasmanian Tree Care uses an enviro-mulcher to turn shrubs and trees into mulch.
Small trees and shrubs have the potential to carry fire across large areas of land.

Pruning low hanging branches  

After reducing the risk of low-lying vegetation, it’s also important to address the potential for fire spreading into the tree canopy. This leap from floor to canopy is called “laddering” and identifying “ladder fuel” is an important part of managing your property’s fire risk. 

To do this, we will recommend pruning your trees up to 6m high on large trees. However, this recommendation can change depending on land slope and height and spacing of nearby vegetation.  

Separate canopy 

Similar to removing ladder fuel, creating spaces between touching trees can help reduce the risk of fire travelling via the canopy. This is most effective when the canopy of adjacent trees is separated by 5m.  

Prune trees overhanging your house 

While trees can provide shade and amenity for your house, unkept trees can also pose a fire risk to your assets. While the exact distance from your house or structure varies depending on your BAL assessment, it’s important to consider the distance between your walls, roof and guttering and the surrounding trees.

Unkept overhanging trees can pose a fire risk to your assets.

Striking a balance 

It’s important to note that most trees in the outer zone of your property should not be removed in an effort to reduce your exposure to embers and wind.  A highly qualified arborist should aim to strike a balance between managing fire hazards while keeping the amenity and value trees inherently bring to your property. 

How we can help 

Tasmanian Tree Care are highly professional arborists that value honest advice and a holistic approach to land management. We believe that trees add value to your property, and that proper management can boost the biodiversity, amenity and monetary value of your asset.  

We specialise in technical pruning and tree removal, and have the tools and know-how to help prepare your house for bushfire season.  

If you’re unsure about bush fire readiness or want to have a chat about holistic land management, complete the form below or contact us on 0428 997 068

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