Bushfire risk and fire-friendly gardens a hot topic at this year’s Gidgegannup Small Farm Field Days

Headshot of Cally Dupe
Cally DupeCountryman
Rohan Carboon in a garden planted with succulents near windows to reduce fire risk.
Camera IconRohan Carboon in a garden planted with succulents near windows to reduce fire risk. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

Rohan Carboon aims to spark conversations about “risk and resilience” when he speaks on the topics of bushfire risk and plant biodiversity at this year’s Gidgegannup Small Farm Field Day.

The well-known bushfire risk consultant is one of the main speakers at this year’s Field Day, marking his first time at the May 29 event after years of featuring at Perth Garden Show.

It’s a fitting choice of presenter for an event in the heart of a community last year gutted by fires, with the Gidgegannup and Wooroloo localities still recovering from a horrific bushfire last year.

February 1 marked one year since the devastating blaze tore through the Perth Hills community, burning 10,000ha across several days, destroying 86 homes and killing livestock and wildlife.

Mr Carboon said he was approached by event coordinator Sally Block a few months ago after working with the local community in the months after the fires.

He has spent 13 years consulting on bushfire risk in the Perth Hills and across WA, traveling across the State and working with clients from the Kimberley to the South Coast.

“I’m going to focus on fire behaviour, how to determine your own level of risk where you live… and how to retrofit your home to bushfire standards,” Mr Carboon said.

“We will also discuss bushfire retardant garden design… so how to design a garden and manage fuel load, how to have access to water, and how to make it easier for brigades to access the property.”

Mr Carboon will bring along the bushfire survival plan he has in place for his own property in the Perth Hills, to show people what he uses to protect his own family and their home.

He also plans to discuss how to balance personal “ecological and biodiversity values” with community safety and risk management.

Mr Carboon said bushfire-wise gardens mitigated fire risk and balanced environmental values with bushfire protection measures.

“Often, these two competing areas clash… people wonder, how can I have a nice bushland around my house but also ensure we don’t all burn down?” he said.

“There are a lot of practical strategies to balance these two competing objectives.”

A big part of Mr Carboon’s work is on assessing bushfire risk and analysing risk mitigation strategies for people building homes, determining bushfire ratings, assessing evacuation routes and looking at water supply requirements.

Some of his more technical work involves modelling fire behaviour, so determining how a bushfire could look or behave and determining safer places for residents to shelter.

Prior clients include schools, aged care facilities, builders, remote Aboriginal communities, and government departments, among others.

He in 2020 assessed the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) ratings at the Yarloop town site for the state and local governments to assist in the rebuilding process.

Mr Carboon will speak in the Sustainability Pavilion at 3.30pm.

The Gidgegannup Small Farm Field Days will be held on May 29.

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