Monday, 19 March 2012

Firewise Landscapes
In the South West of Australia we have a mediterranean climate, i.e. hot, dry summers that seem to last for at least five months and cool, wet winters.  The winters have, in the past few years, been notable for their lower than average rainfall.

The Red-flowering Gum, Corymbia ficifolia,
comes from the south coast of Western
Australia and is quite at home in California
or other places with a similar climate.
It has volatile oils in its leaves, drops copious
leaves and small twigs over summer and is
thus highly inflammable.  It needs to be
planted well away from the home and well
maintained so that dry litter does not built
up to become ground fuels for a bushfire.
We share this climate with just a few places in the world, namely southern California, the Cape Province of South Africa, parts of Chile and the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.  The plants that are native to these regions will in many instances grow happily in any other mediterranean-climate country.  The trees and shrubs of these countries have adapted to surviving the long summers by a variety of methods, including making use of fire to regenerate trees and shrubs and to spread seed.

In our garden design and in choosing plants we need to be mindful of whether we are at risk of destructive wildfire, both with respect to what sort of plants are in our gardens, where they are located and our proximity to forests and scrublands.

There are many factors which will influence whether we are well prepared to survive a bushfire.

In this blog we will discuss and try to inform the debate about how to make our properties and the surrounding landscape more firewise and less dangerous.

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We'd like your tips as to how you have made your garden safer from bush fires.