Australia’s climate comes with many fantastic benefits.
A beachside lifestyle, mild winters and plenty of opportunities to soak up Vitamin D are just some of the many advantages of life in the land down under.
But, as if it was balancing out these benefits, our climate also brings a particularly nasty threat each summer: bushfire.
Bushfires & ember attack
Most people understand that your home can be threatened by the arrival of a bushfire front.
However, what you may not realise is that many homes burn down long before the bushfire front reaches them – if it reaches them at all.
In fact, over 85% of homes that burn down during a bushfire ignite because of ember attack.
Ember attack occurs when burning debris or embers fly ahead of the bushfire front, settling on, around or in your home and setting it alight.
Gaps around your home, garden plants, and drying leaves and debris in your gutters all increase your risk of fire due to ember attack.
Gutters as a line of defence
Because drying leaves and debris in your gutters are a common source of fuel for ember fires, your gutters can form a key line of defence in equipping your home to withstand ember attack and destruction by fire.
Regular gutter cleaning is one obvious way to keep your gutters clear of bushfire fuel.
However, regular gutter cleaning comes with its own costs.
Paying a professional to clean your gutters every 3 months can cost hundreds of dollars, while cleaning them yourself can be dangerous and time consuming – especially if you’re under stress and rushing to prepare your gutters for an approaching bushfire.
Because of this, a better approach to bushfire-proofing your gutters is to use gutter mesh to prevent most leaves and debris from entering your gutters in the first place.
Over-the-gutter mesh such as Blue Mountain Co Gutter Mesh forms a physical barrier over your gutters that’s designed to keep leaves, pests, debris and other nasty items out of your gutters. For eaves and fascia gutters that sit on your roof’s edges, further protection is provided by the slope that’s created as the gutter mesh is angled in line with your roof, making it easier for any leaves or debris that settle on top of your gutter mesh to blow away.
Bushfire standards mandate that any gutter guard such as gutter mesh on a new home in a bushfire-prone area must be made from non-combustible materials. In addition to this, we also suggest you choose a mesh with a maximum 2mm aperture (hole size), as this is the recommended size for ember guards, which are designed to keep embers out too.
That’s why at Blue Mountain Co Gutter Mesh, we recommend our 2mm steel gutter mesh for use as a gutter guard on homes in bushfire prone areas.
Defending your home
There are many steps you can take to help defend your home against the threat of bushfire.
A number of these steps are outlined in the Australian Standard for building in bushfire-prone areas. This standard explains the rules for gutter guard and ember guard-compliant mesh in greater detail, and is an important resource for anyone considering building a new home.
You can also contact your local fire authority to learn more and ask for direction to other resources.
Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure these guidelines are consistent with AS3959–2009. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any of the information on this web page. As such, we recommend that you refer to the Australian Standard yourself, or seek tailored advice from a qualified expert.
Blanchi & Leonard, Investigation of Bushfire Attack Mechanisms Resulting in House Loss in the ACT Bushfire 2003, 2005
Standards Australia, Construction of Buildings in Bushfire-Prone Areas, 2009