Challenging bushfire season expected for Western Australia
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) is urging people to get ready for a tough bushfire season following the release of the Southern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook today.
The outlook, released by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre says the South West will experience ‘above normal fire potential’ due to a lack of rainfall, soil dryness and high fuel loads.
The South East, Murchison, Goldfields and Desert areas can also expect an above average bushfire season due to higher fuel loads in these areas.
DFES Country Assistant Commissioner Graham Swift said the seasonal outlook highlights the bushfire risk facing Western Australia.
“People cannot afford to be naïve about bushfires – they are an inevitable part of our landscape and can cause devastating destruction,” Assistant Commissioner Swift said.
“DFES is working hard to prepare for the bushfire season, but everyone needs to play their part and get their home and property ready.
“Simple actions that could help your family survive a bushfire include developing a bushfire survival plan, and creating a 20 metre protection zone around your home. This means clearing the area of rubbish, long dry grass and other materials that may catch fire.”
The seasonal outlook also predicted that the Western Gascoyne, Central West, Wheatbelt and Great Southern areas will experience an average season, but Assistant Commissioner Swift said even people in those areas shouldn’t become complacent.
“On a hot and windy day, bushfires can become out-of-control and unpredictable in a matter of minutes– anyone who lives or travels near bushland needs to be prepared,” he said.
“Just one bushfire is all it takes to affect your life forever.”
For more information about preparing for bushfires visit www.areyouready.wa.gov.au
For more information about the Southern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook visit www.bnhcrc.com.au
Notes to Editor
• Firefighters responded to more than 3,900 bushfires during the 2014-15 bushfire season.
• Significant bushfires in 2014-15 included the O’Sullivan fire that threatened Northcliffe and the Boddington fire that collectively burnt over 150,000 hectares.
• Bushfire Action Month begins on 1 October 2015, with a range of community events being held around the State to help people prepare for bushfires.