Photo: City of Greater Bendigo
Fire is an important part of Australia’s landscape. Many of our native plants and animals have evolved to cope with fire, though few actually depend on it.
THRIVING IN THE HEAT
Seeds of some local native species such as banksias, hakeas and eucalypts are protected from fire inside woody fruits or cones. After a fire the species can regenerate from seed that is shed.
The heat of summer and other factors can also cause these plants to shed their seed. Many species have strategies to survive occasional fire, but long-unburnt woodland is important habitat for birds, mammals and reptiles.
Protecting our lives and assets
Many of Bendigo’s suburban areas are near bushland, and so it is very important that people living in these areas take fire risk seriously.
The forested areas and parkland around Bendigo are managed to protect people and properties from wildfires. This includes fuel reduction burns and the maintenance of fire breaks.
In addition, Bendigo airport has an airbase for helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft designed for fire suppression, which helps keep fire response times as fast as possible.
However, all properties near bushland are at risk of ember attack on severe fire weather days, and owners need to pay particular attention to removing flammable materials from their yards and around buildings. Residents need to understand their level of risk, and make sure they have a good fire plan.
What CAN I DO?
With more people moving to Bendigo pressure is increasing on ensuring new suburbs are designed to reduce the chance of fire. But sometimes people themselves increase the risk. This can be the result of deliberate or incidental fire ignitions (cigarette butts, electricity wires, car exhausts).
An increase in introduced grasses and weed cover or rubbish dumping can also contribute to higher fire risk environments.
If we are all fire aware and prepared, and encourage others to do the same, we can make Bendigo a safer place during the fire danger period.
BE FIRE READY
- Report any suspicious fire activity to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
- Do not light fires on Total Fire Ban days and exercise caution in warm dry weather.
- Have a fire plan.
- Get involved with fire planning and events in your area. More info at www.delwp.vic.gov.au