Despite the topsy-turvy weather currently battering Australia’s east coast, home owners are being warned about the potential dangers of bushfires once more in 2024.

El Nino has indeed been declared by the Bureau of Meteorology, with dry and drought-like conditions expected in the coming weeks and beyond.

The clearing of vegetation and trees, namely dead branches and leaves, is pivotal to weathering bushfire season. Permits may have to be obtained in certain areas to move branches, but a quick enquiry with local council should assist in finding out for where you are.

Developed by the UNSW, FSA FIRECOAT is the world’s first fire-retardant paint. Certified at a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) 40, the material is able to withstand higher levels of radiant heat and ember attack during bushfire, further increasing a home’s ability to withstand extreme fire conditions.

The paint was funded via a Federal Government grant and is now on sale at Bunnings. It deflects fire as it expands, with the paint’s chemicals producing a thick layer of char which deflects fire away from surfaces. FIRECOAT is recommended as an undercoat, as it is only available in grey.

“The special additives we include in the paint mix formula promote the growth of the char, which is the important insulating element. The char is what helps the substrate, that is your house or your building, stay protected from the fire,” says UNSW Professor Guan Yeoh, Director of the ARC Training Centre for Fire Retardant Materials and Safety Technologies at UNSW.

“In the rigorous tests you can see this char being created, but at the end you can just wipe it away and the wood underneath has virtually no damage.”

As well as applying a BAL-certified paint, checking windows and screens is equally as important. A reputable screen installation company will be able to fit out your windows and doors within a day, ensuring embers do not find their way into gaps and crevasses.

If you are required to evacuate and live in a fire-prone area, pre-packing is crucial. A survival kit for you and your family will save much-needed time. An evacuation plan will sort out a number of logistical matters, including a designated assembly point, the responsibilities of each house member, and transport.


Image: An FSA FIRECOAT-protected building compared to a building where the paint has not been applied.