This article was first featured in Adelaide Hills Magazine Spring 2015
Shhh… can you hear that? It’s the sound of grass growing. If you haven’t already started, it’s time to get bushfire ready! Preparing your property for bushfire season may seem like an overwhelming one-off task but you need to chip away at it bit by bit to reduce the fuel. Take advantage of milder weather to get some of the more labour-intensive jobs ticked off your worry list. So put down that second cup of coffee, go outside and get cracking!
Mowing, brushcutting and slashing.
Do this often and on a regular basis over spring so the bulk doesn’t build up. If you live in the Hills, you will know that come spring, the growth just booms. Invest in some good equipment that will make your life easier and see you in good stead for future seasons. Speaking from a 43-year-old body, you can, after only a few minutes on a brushcutter, tell the difference between an el cheapo and something that lets you retain a spring in your step the next morning!
Use livestock as a tool.
Cattle, sheep and horses can be used effectively to do the mowing for you. This saves on the cost of fuel and wear and tear on your mower, not at least yourself. Livestock can be particularly useful in clearing undergrowth in hard-to-reach places. Hey, even the kid’s guinea pig or ‘chook tractors’ can be used and will fertilise your lawn at the same time.
Clean up fallen materials and other burnable materials. Clear out leaf matter in gutters. Use kindling and cut up wood to stock up your woodshed, or have a bonfire. Get the kids involved – just don’t tell them it’s a job. Our family likes a sausage sizzle and marshmallows around a fire on a weekend – it’s what living in the Hills is all about. Just make sure you have your bonfire prior to fire danger season. Even then, always check the weather – the following days can catch people out – and make sure you extinguish it properly. Check local council guidelines, and the CFS website is a must!
Water systems are a must.
Install and maintain a good water system. Set up a fire sprinkler system around assets such as houses and sheds. Maintain pumps and systems before fire season. I have a mobile fire fighting unit set up for my property containing a 400L minimum of water – a must for any lifestyle property owner to have at the ready.
Make hay while the sun shines.
Cutting hay is an effective and productiv