Not all of us have the luxury of owning a home which has been specifically designed to withstand Bushfire conditions so if you have an older home in less than perfect condition what can you do in the case of Bushfire and especially in the case of emergency evacuation?
Each summer many of us plan time away from home and pray to the gods that our area will not erupt in flames over the vacation and our property will be there intact when we return. Even when a fire is relatively distant from your property it is still a good idea for someone to be on hand in case wind driven embers attack. I have personally saved a neighbour’s property from such an event. A large ember ignited her parched lawn while she was out shopping but fortunately someone was vigilant and on hand to put the fire out.
In an attempt to lessen my annual stress-out, I researched many methods of retarding fire.The traditional firebreak and back-burning techniques used to good effect by my Grandfather on his property do not apply to the normal suburban block. Who wants to apply the bare earth policy to the garden they have been nurturing for years. Properties backing the bush often shelter fragile native flora such as Rock Orchids and Waratah which are a joy to behold. People do decimate their gardens when desperate and when fire is very close but I’ll tell you how to avoid this
Many types of foams and gel are available but these stop working when they dry up, so they need to be applied close to the time the fire is actually approaching. Too bad if you are on holidays, are suddenly ordered to evacuate or cannot get back to foam or gel the property.
In addition many foams and gels are not great for the garden or the environment and can kill plants, especially fragile natives and/ or damage the ecology of the soil. An Australian innovation in fire retardant technology called KILFIRE does not have these problems. This product can be applied in advance, say if you are going on vacation for two weeks. It will last as a dry molecular fire blanket during that time provided it does not rain heavily. Heavy rain means less risk of fire but you could always leave a top up application with a neighbour or your handy person to be sure of being covered. This product is easy to apply with a hose dispenser.
This non-toxic retardant can be used on painted and unpainted surfaces and and all kinds of plant material living or dry. It is invisible, once it goes on you do not know it is there. You could still have a party or wedding in your garden and no-one would notice a thing. If a fire does not come the retardant is not wasted. It gradually washes off and improves the condition of your garden soil.
If you purchase the concentrated liquid product and do not have occasion to use it for fire protection within two years, you may simply water it down and use it as an additional soil conditioner to improve the water holding capacity of your lawn, your vegetable patch, earth beneath fruit trees or soil around flowering plants. This works out financially comparable to buying and digging in water crystals, however no digging is required and you are not putting a product which is basically equivalent to finely ground disposable nappies into your garden soil. Kilfire is completely non toxic and made from food grade materials. You can spray yourself or your pets with it without fear.
The only problem I have had with my summer stress reduction exercise was not being very happy with the knapsack sprayer I purchased to spray under the house where it was not convenient to us a hose. IThe knapsack sprayer I chose was hard to use, painful in fact, poor quality and worked even worse when it reached the half empty state. The wand had a tendency to fall apart and the wand parts contained numerous small “O” rings which had a tendency to fall off too and get lost. I returned it to the manufacturer with a really bad rap and showed them my damaged arms. Please post comments if you have used a brand of knapsack sprayer you are really happy with and would totally recommend.
I bought the sprayer I used because it was an Australian Brand and assumed the difference in the price of the next one up was because it was imported. The next one up was double the price. I don’t care about the price really as long as the sprayer does the job properly. In a stressful situation possibly involving smoke and fire I would like a sprayer which is comfortable to use.