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Queensland creates homeowner’s guide to bushfire resilience

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The Queensland Government has partnered with CSIRO to develop a guide for improving the bushfire resilience of new and existing homes.

This is the fourth guide to be issued following earlier publications on storm tides, cyclones and flood.

The newly-released Bushfire Resilient Building Guidance for Queensland Homes provides solutions for adapting homes and gardens to be more heat resistant. It comes after a season in which more than 3000 bushfires burned 7.7 million hectares across the state, impacting 23 communities.

“Scientists are predicting longer bushfire seasons and more extreme bushfire conditions, so managing bushfire risk is essential for Queenslanders living in areas prone to bushfire,” Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) Steven Miles said.

The guide says climate change has led to longer and more intense periods of extreme weather and more elevated fire weather days. From a building perspective, this means an increase in the chance of bushfire and in the potential severity.

Bushfire resilient homes and landscapes help reduce loss of life, the number of buildings impacted and lost, the social and financial cost of recovering, and they also conserve and enhance Australia’s biodiversity.

The measures improve energy efficiency as they reduce gaps and openings and boost insulation.

“Bushfire resilient homes also tend to be better built, meaning lower maintenance costs compared to traditional buildings. These economic and environmental benefits are magnified when considering future predicted climate changes,” the guide says.

The cost of building a bushfire resilient home - or retrofitting an existing home to be bushfire resilient - need not be prohibitive, it says.

CSIRO project leader Justin Leonard says the advice incorporates lessons learned from Victoria’s 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires and CSIRO’s research after every major fire event in Australia since the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires.

“This guidance goes beyond the official building regulations,” he said.

The guide can be viewed here