What is a Hazard Reduction?

Have you ever wondered what an HR or Hazard Reduction is? You may have heard this term, or have even read it on your local brigades bulletin board.  A hazard reduction, or HR, is one way of preparing your home, property, and surrounding bushland for the fire season. However, it doesn't remove the threat of fire, therefore it is important that you remain vigilant and have prepared plans in place.

The term backburn, or backburning, has been used interchangeably in the media, however, it is different to a hazard reduction. A backburn involves burning a strip of bushland ahead of the main fire back into the fire. This technique is used to remove fuel from the advancing fire and to establish a control line.

There are different types of hazard reduction including controlled burning, mechanical clearing like slashing undergrowth, or even reducing the ground fuel by hand.

If there is a hazard reduction burn planned for your area, it has been advised by the NSW RFS to take the following steps:

  • Keep doors and windows closed to prevent smoke entering homes
  • Keep outdoor furniture under cover to prevent ember burns
  • Retract pool covers to prevent ember damage
  • Remove washing from clotheslines
  • Ensure pets have a protected area
  • Vehicles must slow down, keep windows up, turn headlights on
  • Sightseers must keep away from burns for their own safety
  • If you have asthma or a lung condition, reduce outdoor activities if smoke levels are high and if shortness of breath or coughing develops, take your reliever medicine or seek medical advice

For health information relating to smoke from bush fires and hazard reduction burning, visit the NSW Health website or the Asthma Foundation.

Check the NSW RFS website for information on HRs in YOUR local area.