Fire-wise workshop connects

By Ian Beeck | posted on October 3, 2020

MORE than 30 residents attended a fire-wise gardening demonstration in the Denmark CBD, finishing off the Shire’s Plane Tree Precinct development and learning how to make their own gardens more fire resilient.

Chris Ferreira and his expert team from the Forever Project narrated the installation of a sustainable, fire-wise garden from the ground up, providing insight into the reasons and science behind the design.

The garden is one of the final milestones of the Shire’s Plane Tree Precinct development, a meeting place designed to revitalise and rejuvenate the town centre.

The hands-on workshop was the last in a series funded by the Natural Disaster Resilience Program that supports communities to raise their awareness and resilience around bushfire risk.

Shire Bushfire Risk Planning Coordinator Melanie Haymont said understanding and implementing the principles of fire-wise garden and property design can have a flow-on effect that benefits Denmark as a whole.

“By people managing bushfire risk on their individual properties they can have a huge impact on their whole neighbourhood’s bushfire risk,” she said.

“If everyone managed the vegetation on their properties we would be in a great position to manage risk across the entire shire.

“If people know to evacuate early and bushfire volunteers can be assured properties can be defendable, this would save a lot of time and resources during a fire event.”

The Shire’s first workshops under the funding focused on the Bushfire Ready program.

This is a community-driven bushfire preparedness program helping neighbours become more connected and resilient to the impacts of bushfire.

Bushfire Ready sees community members host street meets discussing bushfire preparation.

Through these events it was evident there was a desire for knowledge on fire-wise gardening principles.

Ms Haymont said the demonstration showed people they did not have to uproot their entire garden to make it firewise.

“People were concerned that they had to decimate their gardens and compromise biodiversity and amenity to be more fire-wise,” she said.

“This is not the case and we really want people to understand they can still have lovely gardens and be fire-wise following a few simple principles.”