The severity of bushfires in Australia and their ability to spread into inhabited areas mean you have to take as many steps as possible to delay their spread, should flames encroach on your property. That means clearing brush away and ensuring that whatever you have is as fire-resistant as possible, including the fencing around your property. You might think the fence is far enough away to not be a danger to your home if the fence catches on fire, but the fence material and configuration can add to the danger no matter the distance if you're not careful.
Wood Fences Are Like Highways For Fire
In January 2022, a report on the Marshall Fire in Colorado in the United States found that wooden fences helped spread fire, acting as a "pathway" for the fire to travel between houses. This is a weak spot in fireproofing a property; while your home will never be completely fireproof, as the report noted, you can try to reduce your home's risk of spreading flames as much as possible. One way is to avoid wooden fences and use materials like steel.
Steel Fencing Takes A While To Melt
Steel obviously has its "breaking" point in the form of melting, but it takes longer for a fire to affect a steel fence than it does for the fire to set the fence aflame. That gives you and your family more time to escape and gives firefighting crews more time to put out flames before they can travel farther. So, while steel fences won't form an impenetrable shield around your home, they can offer additional protection should you be faced with an advancing bushfire.
The Right Type Of Fencing Won't Have Gaps
A fence is only so tall, so embers can still fly over the top. But the fence that you have should be built to block as much spread as possible, meaning there should be as few gaps in the fence as possible. This dovetails nicely with providing a lot of privacy, too. Any gaps that do exist (such as the gap between the stationary parts of the fence and the gate) need to be as small as possible. The lack of gaps helps stop sparks from flying through and stops flames from flickering toward grass or shrubs in an adjacent yard.
Types of fencing such as colorbond fencing offer solid steel fences in several colours that match many home design schemes. Tear out that old wooden fence and install a colourful steel fence that will also contribute toward increasing the fire resistance of your property.