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Tips to reduce your garden’s bushfire risk

TAFE NSW Blue Mountains

Tips to reduce your garden’s bushfire risk

The Blue Mountains is a unique world heritage area, and also one of the most bushfire-prone areas in the world, with research by Risk Frontiers estimating that 51.7 per cent of addresses in the Blue Mountains area are located less than 100 metres from bushland, considering them high-risk.

With New South Wales currently battling one of its worst bushfire seasons, TAFE NSW Blue Mountains Environmental Studies teacher, Rick Toovey has prepared some simple steps that residents of the Blue Mountains can follow to reduce their property’s bushfire risk:

  • Regularly clear ground fuel – Leaves, branches and twigs dropped by trees are fuel for bushfires. During the summer months residents should ensure they’re regularly clearing ground fuel on their property, removing it from underneath plants, outdoor furniture, grass areas, and on and around the house and sheds.


  • Prune your plants – Where possible, it’s important that plants have at least two metres of seperation between their branches and the ground. If you have low hanging branches, make sure you’re pruning them back regularly.


  • Replace dead plants – Just like leaves, branches and twigs are fuel for fires, so are dead plants. To ensure you’re minimising fuel for fires on your property frequently clear out, or replace any plants that become diseased, or are dead.


Mr Toovey has been working in the horticultural and landscaping industries for 35 years. He started his career as a Nursery Hand, Arborist’s Assistant, and Head Gardener before starting his own landscaping and horticulture business which he operated in the Blue Mountains for 13 years.

In 2008 he joined TAFE NSW Blue Mountains as an Environmental Studies teacher so he could pass on his skills and knowledge to the next generation of horticulturalists and landscape gardeners.

To find out more about the environmental studies courses on offer at TAFE NSW Blue Mountains in semester one, 2020 visit or phone 131 601.

Media contact: Emma Cawley, TAFE NSW Media Officer, mobile 0412 478 415,