Tree Elbow fire prevention and response plan

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Tree Elbow fire prevention and response plan (an Artist as Family working document; updated for 2018/2019 season)

Pre-fire season prep (August to December) Winter Pruning and thinning trees, deep mulching soils with autumnal leaves, deadwood removal. Harvest rainwater in all tanks. Fire prevention in commons. Early and true spring Mowing and brush cutting grass, weeding of annual grasses, removal of any woody material in food forest areas. Reduce kindling on site; collect as required, do not store. Biochar any woody material by end of November. Clear gutters of leaves. Continue fire prevention in commons. December (prior to summer Solstice) Check gutters don’t leak after down pipe pop plugs go in, fix any leaks in spouting. Have numerous 20 lt water buckets on hand ready to fill. Remove all combustible items from garden and workshop. Keep grass mown and keep on eye out for dry, hazardous plant material. Ascertain when restrictions come in to force and alert friends and neighbours to prepare their fire plans.

Fire season (Late December to late March)

CFA Ratings

Very High days - stay and defend (Total Fire Ban day, hot, windy conditions) Prep 1. Remain at home, cancel work, appointments and prior arrangements. 2. Water garden early morning. 3. Organise poultry crates ready to place chickens and ducks in inside cellar. 4. Check all windows are closed in all dwellings.


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5. Set up hose and sprinkler on front deck. 6. Listen to portable radio; attune to CFA and Vic Emergency sites. Understand the fire direction, location and possible wind changes. Keep updated on this. 7. Bring all wood, kindling and any perishables inside from front deck. 8. Block and fill gutters with water. 9. Bring inside all water hoses except 2 (attached to sprinklers on timers placed on front deck). 10. Put away flammables in workshop and clean up workshop. 11. Wet down and cover compost and wood piles with iron sheets; tie down. 12. Final check over for dry tinder in garden. 13. Fill up outdoor sinks and multiple buckets (leave in various places around garden and on decks). 14. Have bags packed for evacuation, incl. bag of legal docs, precious items, food, tent, etc. ready to go. A separate list should be made for what to take. 15. Drink water, and keep fluids and food flowing. 16. Turn over water supply to town water, in case of blackout. If fire approaches go to page 3.

Severe days - stay and defend (Total Fire Ban day, hot, very windy conditions) Prep 1. Remain at home, cancel work, appointments and prior arrangements. 2. Water garden early morning. 3. Organise poultry crates and deploy chickens and ducks to cellar with water. 4. Check all windows and doors are closed in all buildings. 5. Set up hose and sprinkler on front deck and wet down (check under house). 6. Listen to portable (battery) radio; CFA and Vic Emergency sites. 7. Bring all wood and kindling on front deck inside and any other material. 8. Block and fill gutters with water. 9. Bring inside all hoses except 2 (attached to sprinklers and timers). 10. Put away flammables in workshop and clean up workshop. 11. Wet down and cover compost and wood piles with iron sheets; tie down. 12. Final check over for dry tinder in garden. 13. Fill up outdoor sinks and multiple buckets (leave in various places around garden and on decks. 14. Have bags packed for evacuation, incl. bag of legal docs, precious items, etc ready to go. 15. Drink water, and keep fluids and food flowing. 16. Turn over water supply to town water, in case of blackout.


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If fire approaches on Very High or Severe days 1. Bring all hoses inside after wetting down decks and filling guttering and carrying out all above steps. 2. Animals should either be inside house or inside cellar now. 3. Fill all indoor sinks and bath with water. 4. Bring in all full buckets from outside and have mops ready to go. 4. Place damp woollen blankets across all windows (inside). 5. If it is possible to have someone outside to fight ember attack do so until too hot, smoky or extreme. Woollen hat and clothing ideal and body covered. 6. Rehydrate with water, watch fire from inside, let it pass. (approx. 20 mins.) 7. Keep axe inside in case of having to break out of a room through windows. 8. After fire passes, get outside with hoses and put out spotting fires and embers.

Extreme or Catastrophic days - leave early (Total Fire Ban, extremely hot, dry, severe wind conditions) 1. Employ all prep stages relating to Severe Days (ignoring step 1) the day or night before. 2. Put poultry in cellar with water early in the morning, after feeding them. 3. Place Zero in PTV approved basket ready to go. 4. Put 2 sprinklers on timers on front deck area. Turn on just before leaving. 5. Take already packed backpacks (including legals and precious items pack, overnight bag each, sleeping bags, battery radio and tent). 6. Leave on early Woodend bound bus for Melbourne train and remain away until area is safe, roads reopened etc. 7. Position “Climate Refugees” signs on packs.

Extra points on keeping calm and avoiding panic (When a fire is approaching) 1. Have one person to tick off check list and listen to radio. 2. Give child/children meaningful jobs such as water bucket, sink and bath filling tasks, and keeping everyone hydrated with glasses of water. 3. Even if the house catches fire, it will most likely save us from deteriorating in intense radiation until fire passes. Don’t panic, stay inside. 4. We can fight the fire from inside with a bucket chain. Close doors on room that has caught fire and fight it using the door as a guard. 5. Keep axe inside in case exit through close windows is required. 6. A fire will likely cause blackout and thus mobile phones won’t operate. Don’t rely on phones, the fire is a wild force, we can be present to it and survive.