The Fire Wise Project is a beacon of support for local communities in New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. It’s a movement that’s not only redefining bushfire preparedness but also enhancing local biodiversity through strategic planting of native species. With a focus on three crucial aspects of bushfires, the project is igniting a new era of safety and conservation.
Three Pillars of Fire Wise Theory
The Fire Wise theory rests on three fundamental pillars, each addressing a different facet of bushfire impact:
Radiant Heat: Radiant heat, the intense heat experienced near a fire, poses a significant danger during bushfires. It’s a major contributor to the loss of life and property.
Wind Speed: Wind speed is a driving force behind fire behaviour. Strong winds lead to faster, more intense fires that are harder to control.
Ember Attack: Embers are a common cause of house fires during and after bushfires. Managing ember attacks is essential for reducing fire risk.
Strategic Native Vegetation for Protection
Contrary to common misconceptions, strategically placed native vegetation can offer substantial benefits. By blocking radiant heat, reducing wind speed, and deflecting embers, such vegetation becomes a natural shield against fire’s destructive forces.
Remarkably, trees play a pivotal role in mitigating fire risk. Grass fires, often perceived as less threatening, can spread unpredictably and swiftly. Trees, on the other hand, slow down fires and maintain ground moisture, reducing the likelihood of ignition.
The Fire Wise Project collaborates with renowned fire science organizations like CSIRO, local ecologists, botanists, fire service agencies, Landcare groups, and Indigenous communities to develop and share trusted fire safety information.
The Fire Wise Project is about tangible change within communities. Here’s how the project is making a difference on the ground:
Seed Collection and Banks: Fire Wise aims to improve local seed banks for fire-resistant species, ensuring a steady supply for future planting efforts.
Demonstration Plantings: Living seed banks and fire-resistant demonstration plantings on public and private lands serve as real-world models of effective fire mitigation strategies.
Community Nurseries: By enhancing community nurseries’ capacity to grow fire-resistant plants, the project boosts local plant availability and expertise.
Educational Events: Fire Wise organises field days, seminars, and workshops to share best practices, conduct practical tests, and foster community interest in fire resilience.
Collaborative Research: Ongoing research aims to refine and expand fire-wise approaches, grounded in practicality and fact.
Education Materials: FireWise develops materials that adapt to local conditions, promoting the concept at both grassroots and policy-making levels.
A Sustainable Future
As part of the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife’s Landscape Resilience Program, the Fire Wise Project operates across key areas in New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. This initiative leverages local expertise and scientific insights to empower communities with the tools they need to protect their environment and heritage.
By combining Indigenous knowledge, community engagement, and scientific evidence, Fire Wise is steering towards a future where our landscapes thrive and stand resilient against the challenges of nature. Through collaboration, action, and education, Fire Wise is an example of hope in our journey toward a safer and more biodiverse future.