Protecting Hobart a team game
HOBART is very special. No other capital city in Australia, and very few in the world, is so closely linked to nature. Forests and woodlands cloak the city’s hills, native grasslands flank the River Derwent.
But living so close to nature in a fire-prone country like Australia comes at a cost. The risk of bushfire is always with us, and the fire season ahead is predicted to be another bad one.
That’s why the City of Hobart carries out an ongoing fuel reduction program across the 4600 hectares of bushland reserves it manages.
It is a two-pronged attack using firebreaks and cool-burning to lower the risk of bushfire, protect people, houses and businesses, while looking after Hobart’s natural environment.
If a bushfire does break out in a bushland reserve, people in nearby houses and private businesses are most at risk. They could be exposed to smoke, embers, radiant heat and direct flame. That’s why it’s so important to maintain a buffer between private property and bushland.
The City of Hobart does this through “green’’ fuel breaks, open corridors that let fire crews in to carry out cool, patchwork burns that reduce the amount of flammable materials on the forest floor, and, if there is a bushfire, get in close to the fire front.
Some smooth barked gums are kept within these buffer zones. If there is a bushfire they disrupt wind flow and capture fire embers before they reach nearby houses.
Ground cover is maintained as a “marsupial lawn’’ to prevent soil erosion. It turns out native marsupials are highly cost-effective “lawnmowers’.
The City of Hobart will continue with its program to protect life, property and the city’s bushlands from bushfire, but it also needs the people of Hobart to do their bit. Fire protection is a team game.
The most important things you can do to protect yourself, the people around you, your home and property are:
and prepare for a fire event. • your plan. • bushfire fuel levels around your home and buildings, particularly where it adjoins a bushland reserve. Do not dispose of garden cuttings in nearby bushland — this increases the bushfire risk to your own property as well as your neighbour’s. • levels. • plant vegetation in council-owned fuel breaks. Plantings hinder the effectiveness of the fuel break and will be removed. of bushfire danger