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Fire Resistant Plants

Cuong Tran eastran at ipnet.ins.gu.edu.au
Wed Mar 27 17:24:42 EST 1996

Does anyone have any information on fire-resitant plants?

I do not mean those trees/shrubs which are able of regenerating rapidly 
after a fire, or have dormant buds (or seeds) which the fire triggers, 
but plants that are suspected (or known) to resist actual ignition? 
Plants that I know include Atriplex spp. (i.e. salthbushes) and some 
others, but there must be a considerable amount of info concerning these 
fire-resistive vegetation. 

Here in Australia, the landscape has (predominantly) become dependant on 
the forces of a bushfire to help in the life-cycles of many endemic 
species. Attempts at bushfire management (ranging from total 
fire-suppression to prescribed-burning) has and still are implemented. 
However, we are subject to some disastrous fires (re: Victoria and Sth 
Australia in '83, and NSW in '94) which not only destroys valuable (and 
rare) bushland, but also costs many lives. 

Identifying these fire-resistive vegetation would be a resourceful means 
of fire-management, since the plants can help slow, even stop, fires, 
but at least they would allow some precious time for fighting the fire, 
or to leave the property before the fire-front hits. The advantages of 
this 'greenbreak' is that it halts the emission of radiant heat (often 
the killer), and 'catches' burning embers that are carried by the strong 
winds (characteristic of large fires), and limits the available fuels 
for the fire to spread or escalate in intensity.

Your help is appreciated.

Griffith Uni - Gold Coast

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