Maintain your home

Clear leaves, twigs, bark and other debris from roof and gutters.

In Australia, we love the beauty of the natural landscape and trees are an important for shade and wildlife. However, when it comes to bushfires, any debris that builds up on your roof or in gutters provides fuel for fires. Consider installing metal leaf guards in your gutters to prevent leaves, twigs and small branches accumulating. Leaf guards are primarily used to keep gutters and downpipes clear of leaves for improved storm drainage, but have a secondary benefit of keeping bushfire fuel from accumulating. If you know there's a fire in the area, plug the ends of the gutters and fill them with water, as a fire deterrent. 

Remove bark and wooden sleepers from areas in the garden near the house, to prevent them catching alight and enabling a fire path.

Use fire-resistant building materials; seal any gaps in external roof and wall cladding. 

The Queensland landscape has features that instigate and propagate wildfires. Eucalypt oils in timber and leaves form flammable vapour at high temperatures and feed flames. For houses and buildings in bushfire-prone areas, fire resistance comes first in choosing building materials and design. Bushfire resistance aims to prevent ignition, minimise fire spread, and combat flame growth and intensity change.

Non-combustible materials include sheet and masonry materials such as steel, fibre cement, brick, and stone. Houses built with steel house frames with gypsum board linings, steel roof joists, concrete slab floors, and brick veneer external cladding won't catch fire so easily. Replacing timber frames and roof joists with steel makes sense for bushfire-prone areas because steel cannot burn, doesn't rot, resists termites and borers, and won't shrink or warp.

Over time, any construction junction can create a gap, which could enable ember entry of flame access to the house. Common problem areas include the roof ridge and flashings, end flutes of roof sheets at the gutter line, eaves junctions to fascia and wall and openings to wall cavities.

Seal or cover with fine mesh and vulnerable areas to prevent flying embers, flames and sparks entering your house. Make sure there are no gaps in the brickwork, eaves, guttering and roof cavity (seal the ends of corrugated roofing), doorframes and windowsills, as well as skylights and roof vents. Make sure external house timbers are protected by a sound coat of paint. 

Most homes ignite when sparks or burning embers blow under roofing tiles and start burning roofing timbers or accumulated litter. Metal roofing offers more protection provided it is firmly secured and sealed around vents, skylights, fascias and roof caps.

In our harsh climate, over time building materials decay and age, which reduces your house's resistance to bushfires. Routine home maintenance should include filling external cracks as soon as these develop, and maintaining seal, flyscreens and the exterior surface finish.

nstall a fire-resistant water tank with QRFS 50mm male camlock fitting.The Queensland Rural Fire Service can use water stored in your rainwater tanks to fight any bushfires, if you have the recommended QRFS 50mm male camlock fitting, which connects easily to their fire hoses.