If you’re a resident of the Adelaide Hills, chances are you either experienced the devastating Cudlee Creek Bushfires of 2019, or you’ve seen the long-lasting damage they did to the surrounding landscapes. With a chance of similar conditions this summer, it’s never been so important to reduce the risk of a bushfire on your property.
In addition to having a bushfire management plan, reducing the risk of a bushfire on your property is key for all Adelaide Hills dwellers. On-farm bushfire prevention includes undertaking maintenance to reduce the amount of potential fuel on your farm and includes tasks such as:
- Slashing pastures
- Mowing lawns
- Removing fallen and low hanging branches
- Cleaning out the gutters of your house and sheds
- Removing rubbish from the property
- Getting rid of old hay and grain
- Move woodpiles away from buildings
It’s a great idea to dedicate a spring weekend to having a working bee with family, friends and neighbours to help, but it’s important to make sure you continue to keep on top of bushfire tasks as spring moves into summer.
As well as helping to reduce the risk of a bushfire on your property, there are a number of unexpected benefits to being prepared this summer:
- Reduce your anxiety levels
While many of us have moved to the beautiful Adelaide Hills for its unique landscape (and abundant wineries), it’s a fact of life that we live in an area with a high bushfire risk. And as that risk becomes more prevalent in spring and summer, its easy to become anxious about the upcoming bushfire season and all the things you need to do to prepare for it.
In 2020, that anxiety may be compounded by the impact that COVID-19 has had on us, so it’s not unlikely that these issues have a negative effect on your mental health. Gardening is renowned as one of the best ways to reduce stress, depression and anxiety levels while improving your mood, so donning the gardening gloves is a brilliant way to beat the blues and get your property bushfire ready.
Depending on the size of your property and the available machinery, you may be able to undertake some of all of the required maintenance yourself. But if you need help slashing, spraying or repairing fences, Adelaide Hills Farm Services is available to help.
- Reduce the Risk of Injury to Livestock
Taking care of low hanging branches, removing debris and keeping your grasses cut low will help prevent injuries to livestock and help maintain the integrity of your fences. Those with horses know that our equine friends go looking for veterinary trouble, so having a thorough inspection of paddocks and fence lines is an essential part of Adelaide Hills life in summer.
Take a walk around your property and jot down a list of things that could invite a vet bill – tree limbs hanging over fence lines, existing damage to fences and gates, mounds of old or mouldy hay or grain, damage to feeders. This also presents a great opportunity to test your electric fences to make sure they’re firing on all cylinders and have an effective zap to keep stock off the boundary.
- Identify Potential Hazards – snakes included!
Having a really thorough inspection of your property is a great way of identifying potential hazards. You might find a bunch of snake eggs near the house that needs relocating (we recommend Snake Catchers Adelaide for that job!) or perhaps low hanging branches that will prevent the fire service from crossing your property. Keep an eye out for hazards such as potholes, uneven ground, weeds and rubbish. Check your dams and clean your water troughs, keep an eye out for wire and bailing twine on the ground and have a look at your sheds – is it time for that cleanout you’ve been thinking about for the last 12 months?
While there’s a bit of blood, sweat and tears involved in property maintenance, just imagine – kicking back on your verandah after a hard day’s work, enjoying the satisfaction of a job well done and safe in the knowledge that your bushfire reduction strategy is in place for the summer. An Adelaide Hills Gin and Tonic (Belle’s current fav is 78 Degrees Sunset Gin) is highly recommended!
Can we help? Adelaide Hills Farm Services can help take the stress and worry out of bushfire season. We can help to develop a bushfire prevention plan for your farm, help out with spraying and slashing, as well as fencing repairs and woodcutting. Whatever you need – give us a call and we’ll be happy to come and have a chat. (Belle is always up for a Gin & Tonic!)