How to create a firebreak

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Creating a firebreak is an essential part of any bushfire prevention strategy. We’ll show you how to clear areas around your property and a few different ways to create and maintain firebreaks.

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This D.I.Y. Advice is part of a series How To Prepare for a Bushfire

Step by Step Instructions

1 Check council requirements
2 Cut back scrub at fence lines
3 Poison hard to reach areas
4 Churn dirt to create a firebreak
5 Check gates and access road
6 Burn off green waste
7 Use vegie patches and garden beds
  • Step 1. Check council requirements

    It’s your responsibility to look after firebreaks on your land. Check with your local council to see what your specific responsibilities are and what might be shared. Also check with the local fire authority to see when you can burn off and how big that fire can be.  It’s important to note that there can be fines if you don’t maintain your property.
  • Step 2. Cut back scrub at fence lines

    Using a whipper snipper, cut back long grass along fence lines. It’s a good idea to do this in winter or spring before the grass gets too long.

  • Step 3. Poison hard to reach areas

    Poison around stumps and posts to keep grass away from their base. When spraying, refer to the instructions on the bottle to work out how often you need to spray.
  • Step 4. Churn dirt to create a firebreak

    Churning up dirt ensures that fire can’t creep across the grass. Simply attach the tiller attachment to your whipper snipper and chew along the grass. Your council will tell you how wide your firebreak needs to be. Ideally it is big enough to protect your property and provide access for a vehicle.

  • Step 5. Check gates and access road

    Make sure gates work properly and can open and close. You will need access from different parts of your property in case a fallen tree blocks one track. Then you still have a way to get out. Natural firebreaks on your property, like creek beds or natural gullies, are also beneficial. But remember to maintain them, particularly in gated areas.
  • Step 6. Burn off green waste

    Get rid of leaves and sticks raked up during the year. Check when it’s okay to do small controlled burns. Rake green waste into small piles and burn it off when needed.
  • Step 7. Use vegie patches and garden beds

    Firebreaks don’t always have to look barren. Use a vegie patch or garden beds to create nice looking breaks. You will have tilled the earth so it’s not going to burn.

Tools and Materials

Tools

  • Bush cutter blade
  • Lawnmower or ride on lawnmower
  • Safety equipment
  • Tiller attachment
  • Whipper snipper or tractor and slasher

Materials

  • Poison
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Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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