Stock safety during bushfire

 

 

ANIMALS stock Dead cow unharmed cows

The fortunate contented cows in the background were provided with a bare earth stock refuge. Photo (c) Katherine E. Seppings from The Complete Bushfire Safety Book

Some simple protective measures can make a huge difference to stock safety during bushfire. The simplest is to plough 6m bare earth strips on each side of  fence lines. This can be done in a lull between fire danger days. It will stop the run of a grassfire. Embers from a forest fire can, of course, land on a paddock occupied by stock and ignite grass their side of the fence. Prepared refuge paddocks have saved hundreds of head of stock from being overtaken by fire. Never leave any animal tethered or caged outside during bushfire.

stock Sheep in dangerous paddock

These sheep could be protected from a running grassfire by ploughing bare earth fireebreaks each side of fence lines.

STOCK REFUGE SUGGESTIONS
Ploughed land.
Well eaten-out paddock.
Paddock planted with a green summer crop.
Concrete milking sheds or stables with roof sprinklers.
A nearby green, sheltered, open space such as golf links or recreation grounds.
Heavily grazed lanes, not tree-lined.
Dams with soil scooped up on at least two windward sides.
Pet boarding places, wildlife sanctuaries & horse studs need roof and ground sprinklers.

STOCK REFUGES NEED
Bare earth.
Enough space to hold all stock.
Water in heat-resistant containers.

STOCK REFUGES ARE IMPROVED WITH
Fuelbreaks and windbreaks (see below).

STOCK REFUGE LAYOUT
On leeward side of the property.
In the inner zone of protection.

STOCK REFUGE TIPS
Clear straw and other flammables from milking sheds or stables.
Clear flammable vegetation from earth mounds and trench rims.
Fit property with internal gates that can be opened for animals to move to safety.
Get stock used to moving into refuge.
Never wait until embers are falling to release stock or move them into their refuge: this has caused many deaths.

FUELBREAKS (FIREBREAKS)
Work best for grass fires, which don’t throw embers as far as forest fires.
Fuelbreaks at least 6 m wide on outer sides of vegetated fence lines (see below).
Hedges as wind/firebreak/radiation shields on at least two windward sides.
Stone fences around paddocks can stop crop and grass fires.

WINDBREAKS
Consist of rows of closely grown tall trees.
Modify the strength of wind blowing towards protected objects.
By forcing an approaching wind to rise, can protect an area well beyond it.
Can protect buildings and stock.
Conserve soil moisture near them.

WINDBREAKS TO PROTECT BUILDINGS AND STOCK REFUGE
Dense low-flammability hedges such as lilly-pilly or photinia.

WINDBREAKS TO PROTECT CROPS & GRAZING STOCK
Permeable hedges such as sticky or silver wattle, with smaller plants beneath. (See The Complete Bushfire Safety Book for extensive list of fire resistant plants.)

REFUGES FOR FOWL PENS & AVIARIES
Sprinklers for roof and walls.
Low wall 2–3 m to fireward of pen to shield three sides.
Cover small aviary with pure wool blanket or strong foil if embers fall.
Protect with European deciduous trees.

REFUGES FOR STABLES & MILKING SHEDS
Brick, stone or concrete cladding.
Roof and perimeter sprinklers.
Cleared 10 m around.
Remove straw, soak timber doors, fill water troughs.

REFUGES FOR PADDOCKED HORSES
Bare earth beneath a large, spreading, low-flammability shade tree.
20–30 m bare if trees in the paddock; 10 m bare if only grass in the paddock.
Water trough, filled daily.
Radiant heat shield: wall or hedge, 4 m long and at least as tall as the horse.
SEE ARCHIVED POST for horses 2015-11-20.

FOR FULL DETAILS on animal protection see definitive The Complete Bushfire Safety Book
or the CFA endorsed ready reference Essential Bushfire Safety Tips 

ANIMALS Deer endangered

A few minutes after this picture was taken, these beautiful animals perished in the fire. February 2014, Central Victoria.

 

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