If you've recently moved to a new home out in the sticks, then you may have chatted with locals who told you that it's a good idea to build some fire breaks around your property. What are fire breaks and how do you build them?
What Are Fire Breaks?
If you now live in bushfire country, then fire breaks are an essential part of the area's fire defence system. They help stop a fire from spreading. Breaks are basically areas of land, such as trenches around a property, where anything that might fuel a fire has been removed.
For example, if you have a lot of grass or vegetation on the edges of your property and there is a local bushfire, then the fire will simply run across this greenery on to your land where it will take hold.
However, if you clear a fire break area between the bush and your property, then the fire's intensity might be reduced when it hits the break. There is nothing for it to burn in the cleared outbreak area.
How Do You Build Fire Breaks?
On a level, building a fire break is simple. You simply clear anything off an area that could feed a fire. So, for example, a break area won't have any grass, plants, trees, or bushes in it. It will be taken back to the soil or ground.
This isn't typically a job you can do manually with a spade and a bit of heave-ho. Fire breaks need to be relatively wide so that sparks from a fire can't jump across the break and start another fire on the other side. If you have a large boundary, then the fire break may need to be pretty long as well.
Typically, if you're going to build a fire break, you'll use earthmoving equipment to dig a trench for the break. This is one of those times when muscle wins. An earthmover has the power to cut up the top layer land and remove it to create an effective fire break.
While you can hire an earthmover to do this job, you may find it easier to hire an earthmoving contractor with experience of building fire breaks. The company will be able to tell you where the break should go, how much ground it should cover, and how wide it should be. They'll also be able to do the job quickly to give you immediate protection.