Bushfire Survival Plan
As we witnessed in the tragic 2009 Victoria Bushfires, the Australian bush can be merciless during a fire. In just a matter of minutes, conditions can change drastically and therefore, despite not having had a serious threat from bushfire to the property since we purchased it back in 2000, there is no room for complacency when it comes to bushfire safety, and so we recommend our guests take the uptmost precautions as outlined here.
The first step is for guests at Wallis Lakehouse to form their own Bushfire Survival Plan. You know your group, their capabilities and what will be the most appropriate course of action should a plan need to be put into place. While we include some general suggestions for you below, please review this short video and ensure this has been discussed by guests so it can quickly be implemented if required.
On any hot and in particular a hot and windy day, there is an increased chance of fire so stay tuned to news feeds from the RFS, either via radio or the website, and keep a close look out to the sky for smoke. The Government’s National Emergency Alert System sends SMS messages to all mobile phones it detects within the warning area. For the latest information on how this works, please read up on it in the FAQs at www.emergencyalert.gov.au or download the ‘Fires Near Me NSW’ app on your smartphone and set a Watch Zone around the property.
Given the location of the house on the property, any potential threat from bushfire would most likely come from the north, which is the ridge line of trees above the house. We take preventative measures by keeping this hillside between the house and the ridge line clear to act as a potential firebreak should this ever catch alight, but there is still significant risk of flames or embers reaching the house.
The wetland area which forms the southern border to the property is less likely to ignite due to its perennially damp nature unless there has been a severe drought, and the same goes for the grass across the property. However, the gum trees that border the southern slopes of the house do pose a danger due to the highly flammable nature of native trees. While the house is seemingly fairly safeguarded, when it comes to bushfires there are few guarantees.
Emergency Evacuation Plan
While we make some suggestions below based on our familiarity with the local area, instruction from authorities based on the actual conditions must always take priority. The resounding message from the RFS if there is any possibility of a bushfire in the area is to LEAVE EARLY, and as such we highly recommend that the instructions contained in this factsheet are followed first and foremost.
On any day where which has been deemed any risk of bushfire, be alert and ensure you have quick access to a packed bag of all short term supplies you may need to take with you such as medicines, water and warmer clothes. To minimise risk, a suggested place to head to wait out severe danger might be the Pacific Palms beaches (Blueys, Elizabeth, Boomerang etc) which generally serves as an evacuation point for the area.
Please be aware that Coomba Road has several squeeze points with dense bushland on both sides of the road where fire could cross over, and few escape routes if you become hemmed in by fire, so if this option is taken, leave sooner rather than later and please ensure you are as aware as possible of the conditions ahead of where you are going. Unless there are no suitable alternative locations, we would caution against heading further up Coomba Road OR to Smiths Lake due to the nature of the terrain, dense bushland and single road in/out of these areas.
And while the lake may seem a possible escape route via the kayaks and boats provided on the property, we have received advice that given the tendency of smoke to settle on water, this is actually a far from ideal option given the issues this will cause with both visibility and air quality, so we again implore guests abide by the golden rule of evacuating preemptively before there is little other option.