In the Australian Standards As 3959, they have classified different bushfire intensity levels that a home may experience during a bushfire. These are referred to as Bushfire Attack Levels, or BAL’s for short.
There are 6 bushfire attack levels in total, these are;
- BAL Flame Zone
- BAL 40
- BAL 29
- BAL 19
- BAL 12.5
- BAL Low
These individual levels are based on;
- The region where you live.
- The vegetation type around your property.
- The distance from your home to individual vegetation types.
- Slope on the property.
There is a free website which helps you calculate your bushfire attack level, simply click the bushfire attack level calculator link.
Once you have worked out your bushfire attack level, you are then able to refer to the relevant section of the Australian Standards AS 3959. These sections guide you on the steps that should be taken during the construction or retrofitting of your home, this will lower the risk associated with living in a bushfire prone area.
Some of these steps aren’t as expensive as one might think but can make a huge difference during a bushfire.
You are also able to see how your bushfire attack level might be reduced, one step that can make a huge difference is the size of a bushfire protection zone around your home.
A bushfire protection zone is a safety perimeter around your home that is free from flammable material, the distance recommended by most fire agencies is a minimum of 20 meters, however if you live in a highly forested area, you may want to increase this distance.
By referring to the Australian Standards AS 3959, you are able to clearly see the distance that your buffer zone should be in order to reduce your bushfire attack level to a satisfactory rating.
Within this zone you can still have some vegetation, the main focus is keeping any grass to below 10cm and have the right spacing between trees as well as shrubs.
For more information on downloading the Australian Standards AS 3959 click the link.