Be Bushfire Ready - How To Spark Proof Your Home

Environmental Blog

During bushfire season many house fires are caused by stray sparks finding their way into homes and garages.  Here are some tips on how to spark proof your property and keep fire at bay.

Bushfires and sparks

When bushfires take hold, they are often wind-driven.  Burning debris is whipped up by the wind, causing myriad sparks to become airborne.  These embers can easily find their way into your home where they will readily start a blaze.

Spark-proofing your garden

Overgrown vegetation and dead leaves can provide fuel for a fire should a spark land there.  During periods of very dry weather, establish a protection zone around your house of at least 20 metres by clearing away and disposing of anything flammable, including bark mulch from flower beds.

It's a good strategy to incorporate wide paving pathways, open lawns, and water as landscaping features inside this protection zone to act as a firebreak.  Remove any trees that overhang your property too.

Spark-proofing your home

The object of the exercise here is to prevent sparks and embers from blowing into your home or gathering in crevices where they could be fanned into a blaze by the wind.

Vulnerable areas include the following:

  • doors and widows
  • vents
  • openings in the house eaves
  • under-porch areas
  • gaps underneath fascia boards and wall cladding
  • gaps under roof tiles

A very effective method of keeping sparks out of these areas is to screen them using very fine metal fly mesh, although detachable solid screening is doubly safe and can be fitted to windows and skylights relatively easily. 

If you have a tiled roof, you'll need to have fire-rated sarking fitted underneath the tiles.  Sarking provides a fire-retardant barrier between your roof space and the outside, effectively preventing sparks from getting into your loft and starting a fire.

For those living in areas where bushfires are a regular hazard, it is recommended that roofs are constructed of firmly secured metal.  This removes the danger of sparks finding their way into the roof space via gaps in the tiles.

If you have an under-porch area that you use for the storage of firewood or other flammable materials, make sure that you clear it out completely, well in advance of bushfire season.  Once the area is clear, fit metal fly mesh around the perimeter to keep stray sparks out.

You can do much to protect your home from fire by ensuring that wind-borne sparks cannot get in and start a blaze.  Follow the tips given above and ask your local fire department for more advice on how to protect your property from bushfires.


22 June 2016

Saving energy easily

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