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Building bushfire resistance with fire wise gardens at Dunsborough Fire Station

Craig DuncanBusselton Dunsborough Times
DFES Area Officer Andy Thompson, GeoCatch’s Lisa Massey with firefighters Jon Glasspool, Claire Anderson, Stacey Williams, Allen Bothe, Sada Illmann-Rhelan and John Lawrence.
Camera IconDFES Area Officer Andy Thompson, GeoCatch’s Lisa Massey with firefighters Jon Glasspool, Claire Anderson, Stacey Williams, Allen Bothe, Sada Illmann-Rhelan and John Lawrence. Credit: Supplied

When people think of bushfire management, chainsaws, scrub fires and barren bushland are the things which often come to mind.

But South West firefighters are wanting the public to start thinking differently, with fire wise gardening making a splash.

The Dunsborough Fire Station is opening its doors to the community this weekend as the team put the finishing touches on a new fire wise garden.

Alongside GeoCatch and The Forever Project, the station will be hosting a community workshop on Saturday from 1-4pm, aiming to teach the public the principles of fire wise garden design.

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With bushfire risk never being higher in the region due to the drying climate, it is hoped the bushfire resistant garden will help the public adapt to the changing environment and be better prepared for the future.

The Forever Project’s award-winning landscape restoration expert Chris Ferreira will be there to walk the community though turning an existing garden into a bushfire ready garden, showing how the process can be cheap and straightforward.

“During the workshop, we will be looking at the importance of fire wise plant selection and placement, mulch, and ground cover selection, how to remove ‘fire ladders’, and the importance of preserving key habitat species,” he said.

GeoCatch coordinator Harriet Wyatt said she is excited to offer homeowners the chance to increase their property’s safety and give participants some practical knowledge on how to create a fire wise garden.

“The gardens are not only beautiful, but help protect lives, property and bushland by reducing the risk of wildfire and its devastating effect on our communities and the places where we live,” Ms Wyatt said.

DFES area officer Andy Thompson said it was important to plan and maintain a fire protection zone, like a fire wise garden, around a home.

“We live in a high fire risk area, so anything we can do to assist the community in reducing that risk is a bonus,” he said.

“People will be able to come down to the fire station and see what a well designed fire wise garden looks like. We will have the fire trucks out at the workshop as well, so bring the whole family down for a look.”

The City of Busselton’s You Choose community program has provided funding assistance.

To register, visit www.geocatch.asn.au or call 0491 069 078.

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