Wednesday, October 24, 2007
At the moment, the huge fires in California are in the news. Over a thousand homes burned, and no end in sight. Here in Australia, we are finally learning from past mistakes and taking our preparation seriously. For our property, one of the things we had to do was get a safety report done - this outlines how to protect our house and ourselves, if a fire comes and we decide to stay and defend our house (which, I might add, is not built yet but will be as fireproof as we can make it). This photo might show you the main problems - lots and lots of gum trees (the eucalyptus oil in these trees burns extremely well!) and dry undergrowth. We will have to clear out to at least 15 metres - 50 feet - around the house, plus have a water tank just for fire-fighting water.
The photo at the top shows you what it looks like when the bracken has died. Everything is dead and brown - this has happened twice in the last five years because of the drought. Usually the bracken is the last thing to die.
The other problem is that we've also had some big winds, and trees that are under stress tend to just give way, so we end up with lots of stuff on the ground. Now, the environmental people will say this is great because if we leave it there, we are creating habitat. But around the house, you can't afford to leave it there. It's a quandary.
I like seeing the rotting trees with all the activity around them - wombat scratchings, lizards and skinks, insects and birds, other plant life - but if the drought continues, we're going to have more trees on the ground than growing upright!