by Mick Davis

With changes in climate making bushfire an increasingly likely threat, PHCC staff have been building knowledge in supporting landowners to plan their projects and property’s considering fire management, as well as helping landowners tackle some of the hard questions when it comes to what to do before and after fire on their properties.

PHCC is working to help our community prepare for and respond to bushfire threats. Following the 2016 bushfires we supported affected landholders in their response to having burnt fences and bushland, in partnership with Darren Doherty from the renowned Regrarians program.

Six years on in 2022, PHCC has continued to work with the Regrarians program to build the knowledge of our staff in project delivery and supporting landowners and our and for helping provide landholders to plan for bushfire. Training was delivered in a suite of online workshops and most recently in a week-long face-to-face and field based training session spanning the whole region, from Waroona to Boddington and Serpentine-Jarrahdale.

During this period, trainer Darren Doherty re-iterated to participants that the best time to plan for bushfire is before they happen. Some of the key points the group discussed were:

  • Managing the fuel loads on your property to the benefit of your farm/house assets, through strategic planting of low flammability windbreaks, managing weeds in remnant vegetation to reduce fuel and consider grazing stock around your buildings to use the feed and reduce standing fuel near these assets:
  • Understanding how water will be used for fire mitigation, including avoiding pipes melting through burial and incorporating gravity into systems to have reliable water in the event of power loss;
  • Using cultural burning methods – right fire, right time for fuel reduction and biodiversity;
  • Talking to family and neighbours about what you will do in the event of a bushfire. Will you stay and defend, or leave early? Make a fire plan and practice it;
  • Checking your bushfire rating daily on the Emergency WA website – and stay up-to-date;
  • Planning to feed stock after a fire with lost fodder, through considering burying silage and feeding hay from sheds closest to the main shed/home block first. It’s also a good idea to keep a safe store of seed so you can plant a cover crop if you have the chance, to get your soil health back on track sooner and
  • How can you support wildlife following a fire? Provide short-term access to water and habitat in the form of nesting boxes if the bush is burnt can be important measures to help wildlife recover.

These are just some of the issues to consider before and after a fire; there is plenty of more information at the Bushfire Centre of Excellence, located in Nambeelup, at their website –

Thanks to the Regrarians training our team now have much more knowledge about how we can help our community plan for fire and respond to fire on their properties and we look forward to incorporating this knowledge into our work across all our programs. Whether it’s understanding which plants to plant close to (or further away) from infrastructure, helping landholders understand how to manage bushland fuel loads or just talking about fire and how to get prepared for it, our team is here to help and keen to make a difference.

We’d like to thank Darren Doherty from Regrarians, all our farmer participants and the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program who’s funding made this work possible.

We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present