Getting Bushfire-Ready this Winter

Winter is the perfect time to start thinking about how you are going to prepare for bushfire season. 

"To say it’s been a turbulent few months is an understatement and we’re all very unsure of the immediate future, but one thing we can be sure of is the oncoming bushfire season." - David Cleaver, Community Development Officer, Bushfire-Ready Neighbourhoods 

Source: ABC

Bushfires may not be the first thing on our minds right now as we cuddle up in the chilly winter. 

Nevertheless, winter is a really good time to start your bushfire preparations.

What can you do over the winter to make sure you are prepared when summer hits?  Bushfire-Ready Neighbourhoods have prepared a list of actions you can get started in the winter that can ensure your personal and property preparedness for the inevitable bushfire season.

Here are some things you can do to stay prepared. 

Bushfire Survival Plan

This involves creating a written plan which includes an evacuation route(s) and safe place, method of transport, and list of items to take in an evacuation.   Don’t forget to include your pets/livestock in your plan.

You must also identify your evacuation triggers – when will you leave?  Are you going to stay and defend?  If yes – what equipment will be necessary? How will you determine whether it is safe to stay?

And of course, practice your plan – time how long it takes to evacuate and get to your safe place.

Ember Proofing

There are several steps you can take to protect your home from an ember attack.

  • Wall vents can be covered with metal fly wire. but never seal the vents totally.
  • Ridge cappings are a constant problem and can be sealed using wire or silicon.
  • Gaps around windows and doors can also be sealed with silicon.
  • Elevated decks and floors collect lots of debris this time of year so its handy to clear out grass and leaves and unwanted growth from these areas. If possible, consider filling in below the floor line with metal fly screen wire.
  • Keep your roof gutters clean.


Equipment may be necessary if you live in a rural setting and wish to defend your home.

Consider a petrol-powered pump, hoses, and a good water supply.  If you have a pump, don’t forget to give it a test run, clean it and have it serviced to make sure it will work when needed. 

You can extinguish spot fires with a wet beater and basic floor mop.  Have these and some large 10 or 20 litre buckets handy.

Protective clothing

Essential if you plan to defend. 

Consider the items you might need:

  • Cotton or other fire rated clothing, overalls or jeans. Never wear synthetics if you’re defending
  • Wide brim hat
  • P2 dust masks
  • Gloves
  • Goggles or glasses
  • Solid boots
  • First aid kit with suitable supplies.

Get ready this winter and be prepared!  You can access a Bushfire Survival plan template here and find further resources here.