New initiative to increase flexibility during bushfires
This bushfire season the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) has established a new initiative to simplify the process for people to enter areas impacted by fire.
The Restricted Access Permit system will enable residents, business owners and utility companies to apply for permits to access the fire ground when there is an urgent need to return, such as to manage livestock or check on infrastructure when it is deemed reasonably safe to do so.
DFES Deputy Commissioner Lloyd Bailey said the initiative is designed to provide more flexibility while also ensuring community safety.
“To keep the community safe during bushfires, roads are often closed until the area is deemed safe, however we understand that there are some circumstances that require people to get in and out of these restricted areas,” Deputy Commissioner Bailey said.
“Restricted access permits may be granted for a number of reasons, including allowing people to activate their emergency plan, transport various commodities such as milk, water, stock feed and store supplies and tend to livestock.”
Restricted access permits are issued with specific conditions, such as the address authorised to visit, time the permit is valid for and whether the holder can re-enter the area.
Deputy Commissioner Bailey said the permits would only be available once the risk had reduced significantly, and asked for the community’s patience during this process.
“People must remember that areas impacted by a major bushfire can present many hazards including fallen trees blocking roads, toxic or hazardous materials, energised power lines, fire or smoke and stray animals,” he said.
“Our top priority during a bushfire is keeping the community safe, and we urge people to remain vigilant of their surroundings while in the restricted area and keep up-to date with the bushfire warnings.”
The permits will be distributed by a unit set up in the local community impacted by the emergency.
The permit which may either be a sticker placed on a vehicle’s windscreen or a paper permit, must be shown at vehicle control points along with a current identity document.
This initiative, first trialled during the Parkerville bushfire has been undertaken by DFES in conjunction with the inter-agency Traffic Management Working Group.
For more information about restricted access permits visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au/permits