Ordinarily, you may think of tree pruning as commonplace maintenance intended to ensure the health and safety of your trees and property. Regular pruning yields many benefits that can prolong the life of a tree by enabling strong tree structure and growth while minimising risk due to dead or weak branches.
But did you know that tree pruning can be closely associated with fire safety? Denying your trees regular pruning or care increases the potential for the spread of fire due to low lying branches and excess yard waste (leaves/bark/sticks).
Know the Risks
A great start will begin with identifying problem areas and tree health to determine which trees may be most susceptible to fire.
Signs of a distressed tree:
- Excessive leaf loss or leafless branches
- Frail bark falling off tree
- Falling limbs that are dry or brittle
- Noticeable rot
A dying tree can be a fire hazard and if so, removal is highly recommended. One of our experienced arborists can help you to identify and address potential hazards.
The CFA have in place recommended guidelines for safeguarding property against bushfire. The primary goal is to create what is known as “Defendable Space” or a buffer zone surrounding your property that is clear of overgrown or thick vegetation that may accelerate the spread of bushfire.
Why is Defendable Space important?
Defendable space provides a break between the building and the fuel available to the bushfire (e.g. vegetation, brush fencing, flammable material). Providing an area of defendable space can prevent direct flame contact on a building, reduce the effects
of radiant heat on the building and to mitigate the effects of ember attack.
How do I know how much defendable space I need to provide?
In order to calculate how much defendable space is required up will need to complete a site assessment. You can refer to Practice Note 65 published by the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure for further information on the assessment process. The area of defendable space required will depend on the level of bushfire risk and the likely forms of bushfire attack. The factors influencing the level of bushfire risk include:
- Environmental factors including: fuel, topography and weather conditions
- Site context: (e.g. urbanised or remote location)
- Other bushfire mitigation measures incorporated into the design (e.g. siting of the building and construction standard).
Following are the requirements supplied by the CFA:
Show an area of defendable space where vegetation (and other flammable materials) will be modified and managed in accordance with the following requirements:
- Grass must be short cropped and maintained during the declared fire danger period.
- All leaves and vegetation debris must be removed at regular intervals during the declared fire danger period.
- Within 10 metres of a building, flammable objects must not be located close to the vulnerable parts of the building.
- Plants greater than 10 centimetres in height must not be placed within 3m of a window or glass feature of the building.
- Shrubs must not be located under the canopy of trees.
- Individual and clumps of shrubs must not exceed 5 sq. metres in area and must be separated by at least 5 metres.
- Trees must not overhang or touch any elements of the building.
- The canopy of trees must be separated by at least 5 metres.
- There must be a clearance of at least 2 metres between the lowest tree branches and ground level.
Contact us TODAY!
With many years of experience, the experts at Gab Group specialise in tree pruning and other arboricultural services. Please call us on 0408 629 377 or online and request a free quote. Together we can answer any questions you may have and get your property prepared for the upcoming bushfire season.