7 jobs to help prepare your home for bushfire season

Man on a ladder removing leaves and debris from gutters on the roof

Nyasha Jokomo

Posted December 05, 2023

You don’t have to live in regional Victoria to prepare your home for summer. Undertaking home and garden maintenance for bushfire season is essential to being prepared.

Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) records show that during El Niño years, winter-spring periods have been drier in eastern Australia over the last ten years. There is a significantly higher risk of bushfires occurring this summer in Victoria as a result of these drier conditions.

Bushfires can occur where the suburbs meet the bush or where grass or parkland surround urban areas. Home maintenance and preparation could help reduce the risk of damage to your property from bushfires.

Tips to help prepare your home for bushfire season

On your property

Clean your gutters 

Make sure gutters are cleared and free from leaves and other debris hanging around the roof that can act as fuel for fire. Ideally, gutters should be cleaned by a trained professional at least twice a year, especially before summer.

If you do choose to clean your gutters yourself, be cautious as working at height on a ladder can be risky. Ensure that you always take the necessary safety precautions, such as the use of gloves and non-slip shoes.

Seal and cover windows

Your window fittings should be checked for damage and gaps to help protect your home from smoke seeping in. Use a fire-retardant product to seal gaps around the window frames and install shutters to help protect windows from cracking from flying embers.

Maintain window sills so there is no flaking paint, as this is a combustible material that embers may ignite on. 

Add protection to doors

Installing metal screen doors over timber doors can help reduce the chance of fire embers igniting the door. For added protection, it may help to seal the gaps around the door frame to prevent embers entering.

Where possible, replace combustible doorsills with a non-combustible product to help reduce the chance of embers igniting. 

Check your roof for any gaps

If you’ve been living in your property for a number of years, consider checking the integrity of the roof. This important check is best left to professionals as they conduct inspections to the necessary safety standards.

Gaps in the roof can be sealed with compressed mineral wool insulation. 


Man fixing floor lining on door of home

It may help to seal the gaps around the door frame to prevent embers entering. Image: RACV


Around your property

Prune trees and clear vegetation

Regularly maintain the area around your property to ensure it is free of excess vegetation and debris. It is essential that you prune tree branches, so they are not overhanging the roof or touching walls.

Grass burns faster than bush or forests. The taller and drier the grass, the more intensely it will burn. Keep your grass short, especially during bushfire season.

Store flammable items at a distance

Store flammable liquids and woodpiles away from your property, as they can easily ignite in the event of a bushfire. 

Test sprinklers and water pumps

Regularly test equipment that forms part of your bushfire safety plan, such as sprinklers, pumps and generators.  


Man trimming hedge with garden scissors

Trimming your hedges is an effective way to help prepare your property for bushfire season. Image: Getty. 


Consider reviewing your home insurance coverage

Preparing your property for bushfire season also includes considering if your home insurance is current and sufficient. Check your policy Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). This document gives you a complete list of the conditions, limits and exclusions associated with your home insurance policy, including listed events you are covered for. Call your insurer to check your policy limits, what optional extras are available to you, your renewal date and any other information you’re unsure about.


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The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit racv.com.au. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product(s)issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.