The Wingecarribee Shire is an inherently bushfire prone area. It is therefore critical that anyone who resides in, or frequents, a bushfire prone area prepares a bushfire survival plan for themselves and their family.
Severe bushfires can move very quickly and produce deadly amounts of radiant heat. The safety of yourself and your family must always be the first priority in any decision that you make, and it is essential that you prepare adequately and act decisively prior to, and during, a bushfire emergency.
It is your responsibility to plan and prepare for a bushfire in your area, and it is critical that you understand your own personal level of risk. You must decide now whether you will leave your home early, well before a fire approaches, or whether you will stay and actively defend a well prepared home.
You should also give consideration to a back-up plan, in the event that you cannot implement your primary plan of action. In each case, you must prepare your property to give yourself and your family the best chance of surviving a severe bushfire.
The Rural Fire Service has produced a range of information that will assist you in the bushfire survival planning process.
These publications can be obtained from RFS District Offices or via their website www.rfs.nsw.gov.au
Download your Bush Fire Survival Plan (external link)
Should you require further advice on bushfire survival planning and/or property preparation, please do not hesitate to contact your local Rural Fire Brigade or the District Office on (02)4868 5500.
How to Prepare for the Bushfire Season
Put simply, it's your responsibility to be ready for a bushfire.
Know Your Risk
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you live within a few streets of the bush?
You don't need to live right on the bush to be at risk from bushfires. Burning embers can travel some distance, setting to fire to homes that are well away from the bush. In fact, the majority of homes destroyed in bushfires are because of what's called "ember attack".
- Does your area have a history of bushfires?
Think about the area you live in. If fires have happened there before, they will almost certainly happen again. Know the fire risk in your area and prepare for it.
- Do you have many trees or shrubs around your home?
It's a fact that a well prepared property is more likely to survive a bushfire. A well prepared property includes trees and shrubs that have been trimmed, and a cleared area where you and firefighters can protect your home if needed.
- If you need to leave your home, would you need to travel through bushland?
If you need to travel through bushland areas to leave your home, you're at risk of being caught in a fire. Being caught in the open or in a car are among the most dangerous places during a bushfire.
- Is your Bush Fire Survival Plan more than one year old?
Even if you've made a Plan before, check it and update it if needed. Sit down and talk about your plan with your family. That way, everyone will know what to do if a fire starts.
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need a Bushfire Survival Plan.
Make your Bushfire Survival Plan now!
Discuss this plan with your family, and decide together how you will prepare for a bushfire and what you will do in the event of an outbreak. Once you have decided, then write your plan down, and practice it regularly before the bushfire season.
What to expect
I live in an area surrounded by bush:
- Fires in dense bushland can be very hot, intense and fast moving
- Burning embers may be blown from the bush, landing on your property and starting spot fires or setting fire to your home
- Embers may land for many hours even after the main fire front has passed
- Smoke and fire may affect driveways or homes, making it difficult to leave
- The radiant heat from a fire nearby may set fire to your home or surrounds
I live close to grassland or paddocks
- Grass fires can start easily and spread quickly, not only destroying homes but also crops and livelihoods
- Grass fires are very hot and can produce huge amounts of heat which can kill anyone out in the open
- As grass dries out or cures, it can catch fire more easily
- Fires in tall grass will have tall flames that may burn across trails, roads or fire breaks
- Grass fires can move much faster than a bushfire, catching people off guard
I live in an area where the bush or grasslands meet built-up areas
- Fires can spread quickly from parks and reserves, threatening your home, fences or gardens.
- Thick smoke from the fire might make it difficult to see or breathe
- Even if you live a few streets back from the bush, you are at risk from ember attack.
- Burning embers can travel through the air, setting fire to homes a few streets back from the bush.
There are a number of things which can affect the way a fire burns, including:
- Slope - a fire travelling uphill will travel faster. In fact, for every 10 degrees of slope, a fire can double its speed. As a fire speeds up, it becomes more intense and more dangerous.
- Vegetation – smaller items such as twigs, branches and leaves are known as 'fine fuels'. These can burn very easily. Burning bark, twigs and leaves can also be blown in the wind.
- Weather – when it's hot, dry and windy, fires can be more intense and unpredictable. Strong winds can send a fire in different directions and cause burning embers to be blown through the air.
- Make a plan and talk about it.
- Make sure your family has a general understanding about bushfires and bushfire safety. If they are in an area that is affected by a bushfire, such as at work or on holiday, they will be able to make the safest choices.
- Make preparations to your home.
- Embers can travel many kilometres ahead of a fire, so even if you are not directly threatened by a bushfire, you may be impacted by embers. Preparing your home can reduce the risk of embers starting spot fires around your home. For tips on what you can do to prepare your home, download our Bushfire and Your Home fact sheet.
- Keep yourself informed on days of increased fire danger.
- Pay attention to your local radio and TV stations and monitor our website and social media pages on hot, dry, windy days. This will help you plan your day and make sure you avoid areas where there is an increased risk of a bushfire.
Become involved in preparing and protecting your community
Join a Community Fire Unit
A Community Fire Unit (CFU) is a team of local residents living in urban areas close to bushland who are supported by Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) to enhance their safety and resilience to bushfires.
As a volunteer CFU member you will learn how to prepare yourself, your family and your home ahead of the bushfire season. You will learn how to make informed decisions about whether to leave early or stay and defend your property when bushfires threaten.
Volunteer CFU members do not fight fires, nor are they firefighters. Being a CFU member is about preparation, prevention and protection from bushfires.
Join the RFS as a Volunteer
There are many reasons to join the NSW RFS. You may want to protect your families, your friends, your home and assets, your community, and your way of life.
Volunteering also offers the opportunity to learn new and valuable skills that will not only assist you in your voluntary role but in day to day life and even your workplace. It is also an opportunity to meet people you wouldn't normally meet.