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The latest header image is of the Balingup Golf Course taken in Autumn 2017 when the local Bushfire Brigade conducted a controlled burn to keep the dry grass and leaf litter down. This ensures that the Golf Course has a low fuel level and helps provide protection for the town of Balingup two kms away to the south. The image indicates that the local brigade does not only respond to bushfires when they occur, it is also taking pre-emptive action to reduce fuel loads – it is mitigating the bushfire risk.

This blog is written by a resident living in one of the many fire-prone areas of southern Australia. Based in Balingup, in the past 13 years we have had close encounters with four major bushfires and several smaller ones. One of the large fires on 16 January 2009 burnt close to Bridgetown including through a block of land that I owned in the Highland Estate NW of Bridgetown, in the central South West of Western Australia.

Thus the blog is about living more safely in fire-prone areas by trying to reduce bushfire risk to properties through a combination of owners working together and by individuals bringing about better house and garden design, plant choice and water use.

It’s also about discussing the issues that keep arising in the broad field of bushfire risk management. For example, to what extent should governments at various levels be involved? To what extent should the homeowner be involved in reducing the risk? Should the landholder rely partly or wholly on the authorities to protect his or her property?

Highland_18Jan09_3119

At Highland Estate, Bridgetown WA, January 2009. A grass fire sped up a slope and scorched mature jarrah and marri trees almost to the top. Several trees had to be cut down for safety reasons as the fire smouldered in the litter at the base of the trees for two days before being put out. We could not get to the block for two days as the South Western Highway was closed.

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