There is a fire near the humpy again… not too close, but worrying none the less. It is time to do some intense fire preparation.
The blue cross is approximately where our place is, you can see the fire fronts of both our closest fires. They are a long way away from our place, however the fire near Tabulam doubled in size in one day and another windy, hot day or two would see it very close to us. Fire is a terrifying thing in Australia.
Our fire preparation starts with our evacuation plan, for us and the animals. I have packed my car with 2 tents (one large, one small), 2 fold up chairs, cutlery and plates etc, one day’s rations for us and the animals, a folding bed (we only have one) and a sleeping bag. We are currently working on having cages (for evacuation and for living in while evacuated) ready to be packed in the car. We will also have to find room for the electric fence materials to make pens once we are settled. Last time we did this we had 2 trailers and 3 cars, this time we have 2 cars and a trailer. I hope we can condense everything enough to fit some of our belongings.
With the evacuation plan set up and everything as ready as it can be, it is time for passive defense systems. Next comes the preparation of the area inside the fire break. The sheep and goats have kept it short, but there are several large branches fallen from trees and a lot of the general detritus of living laying around. A trip to the dump is long overdue (provided the dump is still there, of course). Sticks, branches and leaves need to be cleared away from the protection area and any holes in the humpy that can be sealed need to be fixed. This is called passive protection; preventing any sparks from finding fuel is the goal. We can do a lot more in this area, but have been very slack about it.
Lastly comes the active protection; making sure we have water in all available tanks, checking the house sprinklers and mobile fire fighting units, soaking any mulch in the gardens and having water bins and rakes available all around the humpy.
We also have a cleared track and signs pointing the way to a dam on our property which has a Firetruck friendly fitting and hose already set up for quick refills. This is for the Rural Fire Service vehicles that may or may not be available to defend our place in a time of need. Unfortunately, most fire brigade volunteers are either …ummm, very mature, or have day jobs (there are also not enough volunteers). This means that we can not rely on a fire truck showing up to save the day (although when they do show up, they do a great job), instead our goal is to be able to defend our own property.
We have our old farm ute set up with a tank and a pump for putting out spot fires in the event of a fire front moving through our area and to help our neighbours.
All these precautions will help us in a slow moving bush fire, but on a very hot windy day they will be useless. The only thing we can do in the event of a crown fire is to leave before it gets here. Hopefully we don’t have to do that again.