The Benefits of Mulching & Slashing Prior to the Bush Fire Season
Bush fire season is fast approaching here in Australia, and to avoid disaster, it is critical that you are prepared for this treacherous season.
2019 has been a particularly difficult year in terms of low rainfall and dry conditions. The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre have released their seasonal statement declaring that Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, and parts of Western Australia are facing an above normal threat of fire because of these conditions. As the conditions are so critical, it is vital that you are taking all precautionary actions to protect your land from inevitable bushfires.
Slashing is most beneficial for clearing and maintaining large areas of grass, in particular, thick, high grass. Mulching evenly distributes bi-product, which decomposes quickly and puts the necessary inputs back into the soil. Mulching is effective for weed and pest control.
During bushfire season, grassfires are inevitable, and are particularly dangerous as they can spread quickly. The taller and drier the grass, the more forcefully it will burn. To reduce the risk and severity of a grassfire, it is recommended by the Country Fire Authorities in Victoria that your grass be under 10cm. This can be achieved through slashing your long grass, prior to bushfire season starting.
Dr Lucy Groenhart, Dr Alan March, and Mark Holland give safety recommendations for farmers leading into bushfire season. For a home, there are two protection zones, the inner zone which is within 10 metres of a building, and an outer zone which is 10 metres and further from a building. Within the outer zone, it is pertinent that grass, leaves, and other debris be mowed, slashed or mulched. Although, this slashing and mulching must be done prior to bushfire season to ensure decomposition of mulched material, to again reduce the risk of fire starters and fuel.
In January 2018, there were 1,922 bush and grass fires in NSW, with two properties totally destroyed. This number could be dropped through the use of mulching and slashing in preparation of bushfire season.
Southern Cross Ag Machinery have a variety of flail mowers and slashers that can be used to help combat bushfire season. With different sizes, power and capabilities that best suit your land, there is no reason to not be prepared for bushfire season 2019.
Bnhcrc.com.au. (2019). Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook: August 2019 | Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC. [online] Available at: https://www.bnhcrc.com.au/hazardnotes/
Grassfires – Rural – Country Fire Authority. (2019). , from https://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/grassfires-rural
Groenhart, Lucy; March, Alan and Holland, Mark. Shifting Victoria’s emphasis in land-use planning for bushfire: towards a place-based approach [online]. Australian Journal of Emergency Management, The, Vol. 27, No. 4, Oct 2012: 33-37. Availability: <https://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=959624894507907;res=IELHSS> ISSN: 1324-1540.
January 2018 fire statistics – NSW Rural Fire Service. (2018). Retrieved 25 September 2019, from https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/about-us/our-districts/blue-mountains/photo-and-video-gallery/2015-photo-and-video-gallery/january-2018-fire-statistics