Protecting your home from wildfire

Guide for those living in rural or at-risk areas on how to protect your home from wildfires

What is a safety zone?

If you live in a rural area, a wildfire safety zone is one of your best defences. A simple cleared buffer around your home can make a huge difference.

It's a strip of land where trees, shrubs, and flammable materials are cleared away, creating a barrier between your home and potential fire. This slows or stops fire spread, protecting your house and giving firefighters room to work.

Remember, creating a safety zone is an ongoing task. Regular maintenance is key to keep your home safe.

A fire appliance parked next to a small white house in the countryside, which is surrounded by hills on fire

How to make a safety zone for your home

Follow these steps to help protect your home from wildfires.

  • The 10-meter rule: Aim for a cleared zone of 10 meters around all sides of your home.
  • Remove fire fuel: Clear away woodpiles, dead leaves, fallen branches, etc. Also, talk to neighbours if you are concerned about their property.
  • Keep grass short: Mow regularly to maintain 75mm height max. short, green grass is less likely to burn.
  • Protect fuel tanks: Give tanks a 3-meter clear zone and store them on gravel or concrete.
  • Mind the power lines: Keep trees and bushes trimmed back from power lines and equipment. Get advice from your power company if unsure.
  • Water access: If you have overgrown grass near your home, have garden hoses ready or another source of water.
  • Keep your garden tidy: Trim back your own plants to create more space and reduce fire risk.

Help firefighters find you fast: Tips for property access

In a wildfire emergency, every second counts.  Here's how to make sure firefighters can locate your home quickly and easily:

  • Stand out from the crowd: Can firefighters easily see your house number from the street? Big, clear numbers help – consider reflective ones for nighttime visibility.
  • No roadblocks: Is your driveway clear? Can gates be opened quickly? Easy access is crucial for fire engines.
  • Location, Location, Location: Live in a rural area? Download apps like What3words or Ordnance Survey Locate. They give emergency crews your exact coordinates.

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