Rebuilding Your Fences After The Bushfire Is Gone

Posted on: 19 January 2016

Most Australians know that each year part of their country will be ravaged by bushfire. Even the capital city of Canberra is not immune to the destruction this natural disaster can bring, with the city being described as '"one of the most fire-prone cities" in the nation'. Living out of town on a few acres does mean your exposure to bushfire danger is higher, and after one has ripped through your property you may be wondering where to start when it comes to the rebuilding process. The insurance company will help you with the task of your home rebuild, but one immediate need you may be overlooking is the replacement of your fences. Without these vital fences, your stock that have survived the fire cannot be contained. There are three main points to keep in mind when it comes to rebuilding your fences after the fire has been put out.

Find Out What Help Is Available

There are a number of organizations who help to quickly rebuild farming fences after a bushfire. While some of these are government funded, others are run by volunteers. Organizations such as BlazeAid are made up of volunteers who gather at the site of major bushfires and help farmers to rebuild fences and other farm-related structural buildings.

While these volunteer agencies will provide the labour to help you rebuild your fences, you still need to provide the materials yourself. If you are unable to financially afford this but need fencing desperately, check with your local state-run resource management department. Natural Resource Management South in Tasmania, for example, was there to help farmers rebuild their fences after major bushfire damage in 2012/2013.

Cautionary note: before you let any volunteers onto your property, make sure they are from a legitimate organization who really want to help farmers. It is unfortunate that there are people who will prey on the weakness of others during times of natural disaster, and you don't want to find out later on that the supposed volunteers were, in fact, looters trying to gain access to your property.

Be Careful Handling Burnt Fencing

While you are out clearing away the burned fencing on your property, it is particularly important you take care while pulling out damaged fence posts. Many fence posts are made using treated timber, and the chemicals that were used to treat the timber initially are copper, chromium, and arsenic. The wood ash left behind could contain traces of these chemicals.

The best way to dispose of damaged fence posts made of treated timber is to double-bag them. This means to collect it, place it in one strong trash bag and then place this bag within another. By following this process, if one bag does burst, there's another level of protection to contain the ash.

Make sure you wear heavy duty work gloves while you are handling the ashes and damaged treated fence posts. This will stop the chemicals from penetrating your skin.

Build A Stock Containment Area While Rebuilding

If you didn't have one before the bushfire, consider building a stock containment area when you are putting your fences back up. A stock containment area is a fenced off area where you can move your stock at any time the bushfire threat is high. This area must be located in a clearing well away from trees and other bush shrubs that will go up in smoke when fire rips through. 

Having this fenced off area ready and waiting for stock means you can move them there well before the fire gets close to your property. This gives them a safety zone to be in while the fire moves through, and these fences will be able to continue to contain your stock while you are replacing burned ones once you can return home.

Returning your fencing to normal soon after a bushfire means you can keep stock losses to a minimum. Let the insurance agencies get on with the rebuilding of your home while you get on with the rebuilding of your fences.

For more information and assistance, also consider contacting fencing contractors, or visit websites like