Despite a cool and wet start to summer the Department of Fire and Emergency Services is warning more Total Fire Bans are on the way this bushfire season.
A total of 10 Total Fire Bans were declared this spring compared to only two in the same period last year – prompting a warning to people to get ready for more.
Since October, Total Fire Bans have been declared across the State in the Great Southern, Kimberley, Pilbara, Midwest and Goldfields Midlands regions.
DFES Deputy Commissioner Operations Lloyd Bailey said it was simply a matter of time before one was declared in the Perth metropolitan region.
He said declaring Total Fire Bans was an important prevention measure and urged everyone to be aware of what they can and can’t do when one is declared.
“We expect this trend of an increase in the number of Total Fire Bans declared throughout the summer to continue,” he said.
“This southern bushfire season is expected to be tough, but the more fires we can prevent, the safer we will be.
“You need to know the facts about Total Fire Bans so you can reduce the risk of destructive, accidental bushfires.”
Deputy Commissioner Bailey said the rules around Total Fire Bans applied to everyone.
“A Total Fire Ban affects everyone, whether you live in urban or rural areas, and everyone needs to be aware of what it means,” he said.
“Last season the Total Fire Ban enquiry line received more than 1200 calls about what the ban means and how it affects regular activities.
“The most common questions last season were whether people could use their barbecues or undertake ‘hot works’ during a Total Fire Ban, and it’s great that people are making the effort to find out more information.
“Breaching a Total Fire Ban can result in serious penalties and even jail time, so no matter what your question, it is better to ask and find out than take a chance.”
Maximum penalties for ignoring a Total Fire Ban are fines of up to $25,000 or 12 months imprisonment.
Local governments may also have other fire restrictions in place throughout the summer, based on the Fire Danger Rating. Check with your local government for details.
Detailed information on Total Fire Bans is available on the Department of Fire and Emergency Services website at www.dfes.wa.gov.au
or by calling 1800 709 355.
Facts on Total Fire Bans
During a Total Fire Ban you can:
• use an electric barbecue,
• use a gas barbecue with an enclosed flame,
• use a gas or electric barbecue in a local park, if strict conditions are followed,
• use a chainsaw, grass trimmer or lawn mower in built up areas,
• use a generator in built up areas, and
• use equipment and machinery in built up areas.
Provided a Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban is NOT in place, farmers can continue to:
• harvest crops,
• auger/grist grain,
• move or load livestock,
• feed or water livestock,
• service farm machinery,
• drive vehicles on internal farm tracks and across paddocks, and
• move hay or field bins.
During a Total Fire Ban you cannot:
• carry out any activity in the open air that causes or is likely to cause a fire,
• perform grinding, welding or other forms of ‘hot works’ in the open air,
• light, maintain or use a fire in the open air,
• use a solid fuel BBQ, requiring wood or charcoal, and
• burn leaves, garden waste and grass cuttings, or use an incinerator.
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