Their home is their castle

Or Why homeowners are central to bushfire risk management

I recently put together a poster for the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council (AFAC) Conference coming up this September in Adelaide.

There were a number of themes chosen for the Conference amongst being “A Shared Responsibility”. I am not particularly happy about the use of the term as it is often taken to mean that a homeowner in, say, a bushfire-prone area should or should not do certain things according to some law or regulation, rather than do something because they see the reason for doing so. To me it sounds authoritarian rather than subtly persuasive; the latter being the preferred technique of marketeers when selling products or ideas.

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A Silver Birch was removed as it was only 3 m from veranda and for months dropped tiny seeds from its numerous tassels that went into the roof space and gutters.

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Tassels of the Silver Birch which will dry out and become fuel in the gutters and roof space.

On the other hand if the term is used to ensure that local Shires, Main Roads WA and other government bodies have a commitment to reduce fuel loads on land for which they are responsible then it makes more sense.

Additionally Government does have a role in facilitating the education of landowners who dwell in the Rural Urban Interface areas about bushfire risk management. In particular they can help encourage a sense of pride in homeowners to become more self-reliant and reward them for so becoming.

The Water Corporation has an excellent record in encouraging customers to become waterwise. The aim needs to be for homeowners to become firewise.

The poster was designed to be A1 size and attempts to look at bushfire risk management from a homeowner’s perspective.

Enlightened self-interest is a good motivator. People who live in the RUI areas will come from a range of backgrounds and for many their home and their lifestyle is precious. If they can be more self-reliant in looking after themselves, they are also helping their neighbours.  Here is the poster: Shared_Resp_PetaTownsing_Poster_sm 02-5

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Example of a firewise garden at low risk of bushfire attack. Wide lawns, gravel paths, deciduous trees. low shrubs, perennials such as agapanthus, all make for a garden that is of low flammability.