Pro­tect­ing Ho­bart a team game

Sunday Tasmanian - - Fire Awareness -

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

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