A new guide to landscaping and designing gardens to best defend homes against bushfires has been launched by Deputy Premier and Minister for Emergency Services Peter Ryan at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show today.
Mr Ryan said the 65-page publication called Landscaping for Bushfire: Garden Design and Plant Selection was developed by the CFA in response to Recommendation 44 of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission and would be an invaluable resource.
“With the right advice, landscaping and garden design can minimise the effects of direct flame contact and radiant heat on a house during a bushfire,” Mr Ryan said.
“Even though all plants burn in severe bushfire conditions, greater understanding of vegetation, suitable plant choices and more practical garden layouts can help reduce the likelihood of losing a home.”
CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson said the booklet and associated online tools would further educate people living in high-risk areas of simple measures to reduce the impact of bushfires.
“The booklet will demonstrate planning and design principles for gardens in coastal, hilly, rural and suburban environments,” Mr Ferguson said.
“It also discusses the importance of appropriate water supply, access, house construction and general property maintenance, as well as keeping areas around homes and other structures free of plants that could easily catch fire and ignite a building.
“For the first time, people can also assess the flammability of certain plant species using the plant selection key, which is available in the booklet as well as on the CFA’s website.
“The plant selection key will help guide decisions about the suitability of trees, plants or shrubs in gardens in areas of high bushfire risk.”
Mr Ryan said improved garden landscaping and design could help protect property, but on severe, extreme and code red days, leaving early was always the safest option.
To download a copy of the booklet or use the online plant selection tool visit: http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/firesafety/bushfire/prepare-your-property/prepare-garden.htm