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Media Release

High fire risk for travellers in WA’s north despite rain
Monday 29 July 2013 – 10:00 AM

Travellers to the Pilbara and Kimberley regions are being reminded to be prepared to encounter bushfires despite the unseasonal rain during the past month. 

Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Kimberley Superintendent Grant Pipe said having a wet June and July meant there would be extra vegetation across northern WA and more fuel for fires later in the season.

"The unseasonal rainfall will lead to higher fuel loads that could mean more regular and more intense bushfires once the dry season takes hold,” Superintendent Pipe said.

"Bushfires can start suddenly, without warning and travel fast so it is important for people who are travelling in WA’s north to be prepared and know what to do if they encounter a fire.
"You should enjoy your time away but if you’re exploring our State you need to know what roads are closed and be aware of any warnings that are in place so you can act to keep yourself safe.”

Superintendent Pipe said there were 291 bushfires in the Kimberley and 301 bushfires in the Pilbara between July and December last year, with a number occurring near large towns and settlements.

"While the number of fires was slightly above average, we had a longer dry season last year with significant fires still occurring in December,” Superintendent Pipe said.

"Many of the fires impacted major roads, highways and other areas where there are remote communities, camping sites and places of interest for tourists. 

"For these reasons travellers need to be aware of the risks, carry a survival kit, a portable radio, spare batteries, first aid kit, woolen blankets and water.

"If you see smoke or flames drive away from the area immediately, do not wait and see as fires are fast moving and unpredictable.”
To keep up to date with alerts and warnings, and for more information about travelling during WA’s northern dry season visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au.


Media Contact: Media and Public Affairs on 9225 5955.


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