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Media Release

Firefighters call for support as WA faces further fire risk
Monday 2 February 2015 – 2:00 PM
In preparation for a second week of challenging fire conditions, 137 Victorian firefighters will begin arriving in Western Australia to provide interstate support for the State’s emergency response efforts.
WA career and volunteer firefighters have been working tirelessly over the last week, battling blazes across the State and saving countless lives and hundreds of homes.

Lightning has caused more than 120 fires this week alone and the weather is forecasted to stay the same until Thursday.  WA fire agencies, and Victorian firefighters and support staff, will be ready to face the challenges ahead.

Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Wayne Gregson APM said the efforts of WA firefighters were admirable and are continuing throughout the State today.

“Firefighters have battled hundreds of fires since Thursday and are doing an extraordinary job to bring them under control despite difficult conditions.

“Hundreds of homes and Western Australian lives have been saved this week, but with weather staying the same until Thursday, our troops need to be rested if they are to continue their excellent work.

“That is why I have made the request from our Victorian counterparts this morning. Western Australia has provided support to other states over many years and we are grateful to see this assistance being reciprocated.”

“I am most pleased to acknowledge the inter-agency and interstate cooperation evidenced during the last week.”

Department of Parks and Wildlife, Manager of Fire Management Services, Mike Meinema said with more dangerous fire weather on its way, people need to be vigilant and ready for more bushfires.

“120 fires over the last week were caused by dry lightning, paired with weather conditions such as strong easterly winds, high temperatures and thunderstorms which have led to difficult conditions to fight the fires.

“With more lightning and fire activity expected this week, Parks and Wildlife staff are travelling from as far afield as the Kimberley to assist with fires in the south-west.

“We are urging the public to be vigilant, to call 000 if they see any sign of fire and play their part in keeping our state safe.”

Over the weekend, fires threatened towns including Waroona and Northcliffe. One home was lost and one badly damaged.

More than 800 firefighters from Department of Fire and Emergency Services, 600 firefighters from Department of Parks and Wildlife and more than 4,000 Bush Fire Brigade and State Emergency Service volunteers have joined forces to battle the blazes.

They will now be bolstered by 60 Victorian firefighters, 72 incident management personnel and 5 liaison officers. 

Victorian Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said Victoria would provide emergency management personnel from Country Fire Authority (CFA), Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB), Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning (DEWLP), Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water and State Emergency Service (SES) to staff incident management teams and crew trucks.  

“Victoria has a strong network of firefighters and emergency management personnel who operate in specialist roles and we are pleased to be able to share these resources and expertise with our interstate counterparts," he said.

“Australia has cross-border arrangements for sharing personnel, resources and aircraft and it is important that we continue to operate with no borders and support each other where needed.”

DFES urges everyone to ensure they have a well thought out bushfire plan ready in case a fire breaks out suddenly near you. More information about how to get ready for bushfires can be found at www.areyouready.wa.gov.au

Media Contact: DFES Media and Corporate Communications 9225 5955

 

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