Summer: gardens and fires

Whilst most of us hope it won't happen to us, ie that a fire will burn our house and garden, there is always a chance on a hot, windy day that a fire will start in a paddock or in natural bushland and sweep down upon us.

The trigger to start a fire can be one of several: lightning strikes, a carelessly-lit campfire, a discarded butt, burning off to try to reduce fuel that gets away or variations on all of the preceding including arson, of course.

Whatever the trigger, the immediate surrounds of our houses can make a huge difference as to how well we, our house and our garden can survive.

Some plants burn much more readily than others, for example, many of the trees and shrubs of the South West forests of Western Australia are highly inflammable.  They are well adapted to fire, indeed many germinate better with the aid of a bushfire.  

Plants that are low in resins or oils, that have soft, large leaves containing moisture are not so flammable. Fruit trees, such as apple, plum, fig and peach are less likely to burn readily than a gum tree with the volatile eucalyptus oil in its leaves.

Below is photo showing John in our orchard with a non-inflammable plum to the left, in the process of cutting back a Red-flowering Gum, Corymbia ficifolia.  This tree, with its inflammable leaves and dead branches, could burn if embers blew in from nearby bushland during a fire. 

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An orchard can act like a green firebreak if the plants chosen are unlikely to burn readily.  In the centre background is a carob which is an evergreen, fire-retardant small tree.

© growing country gardens 2016