Intelligent landscaping could be key to protecting your home from a wildfire

Kiwi homeowners are being encouraged to re-landscape their properties to protect them following the devastating forest fires near Nelson.

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Following the devastating Tasman fires, homeowners are being asked to consider simple planting and maintenance as a prevention measure. Source: 1 NEWS

The huge Pigeon Valley blaze in February was reminder of how wildfire can spread.

Principal Rural Fire Officer Ian Reade says the main blaze was starting spot fires “500 metres in front of itself”.

“So what that tells you, is any house within 500m of where that fire went, is at risk."

But simple planting and maintenance could end up saving a home, and the time to do so is now, while the risk is low.

“One of the biggest threats to the house or the property is ember, so ember's landing or ember showers landing on the house and igniting things,” Mr Reade says.

Redwood Valley resident Guy Mollett began fireproofing his place around six years ago.

“When we bought it, basically the whole property was covered in waist high grass and large volumes of it. Gorse was starting to grow across the property, particularly in the paddock."

He tidied up, simplified and replanted with less flammable varieties.

“So flax has been used on our slopes that are difficult to manage and where the fire could be a risk of travelling up towards the property."

Those changes may have helped save his home from the recent fires, the flames getting within 10 metres of the house.

“The boundary fences were burnt and we were pretty close to losing sheds and retaining walls,” Mr Mollett says.

And small changes could be the difference between keeping and losing a home.

“Even things like outdoor furniture, so if a fire does start, you've got a plan to bring that in. If you've got a hessian doormat outside your property, that goes inside,” advises Mr Reade.

For more on landscape safety, head to Fire and Emergency’s website