Adapting to bushfire season

We were quite happy with the shade cloth that we’d put up all around the house but now there’s so many bushfires everywhere, we had to change our tactics for keeping cool.

Shade cloth is plasic and, if any stray embers were floating through the air during a fire, they could land on the shadecloth and ignite it. Ouch!

I gave it some thought and coincidentally one of our local hardware stores had big 3 metre cantilevered shade umbrellas out for cheap. They even have a winder on them. I bought two to try them out.

This morning, I took down the shadecloth that was protecting the sitting area and lounge and installed one of the umbrellas where I thought it would do the most good.

It’ll need a bit of repositioning and also need lifting up about 60 cm but it seems to do the job. I’ll watch the Sun all day and see how the shadow from the umbrella moves across the area.

There is also another advantage that goes along with removing the shade cloth. The plants get a little more Sun. That was always an issue with the shade cloth – it was cutting off a little too much light. Plants in the sitting area weren’t thriving and some were growing quite spindly.

Once fully installed, we’ll be able to wind down the umbrella in extreme conditions and tuck it all away in a fire. Later we’ll do something about the shade cloth around the rest of the house.

Changing conditions due to global heating mean that we all need to be flexible and adapt. This is one step we are taking. I’ll cover more as we go along.


The pic above is of the finished umbrella. It was raised 600 mm from the ground to help it clear the windows (don’t want it banging too hard there). The height is adjustable and a restraining cable passes over the top to stop it rocking around too much.

This umbrella can be easy wound down and removed should a fire be near. Another advantage is that it’s waterproof, so we can sit out here in Winter and get some fresh air too.

It’s a win-win situation

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