DEC controlled fire roadblocks: police

POLICE have responded to residents’ concerns regarding roadblocks set up during the November bushfires at Margaret River.

Senior Constable Jim Armstrong of Margaret River police this week pointed out that the Department of Environment and Conservation were the hazmat agency in overall control of the bushfires and the agencies’ response to them.

The WA Police were a “combat agency” being used by DEC as part of the fire effort which included the roadblocks, Sen Const Armstrong said.

Once the closure of an area was declared, only those directly involved in fighting the fire, such as fire trucks and their crews, can pass roadblocks. Even police need special permission to enter the fire ground, he said.

As reported in the Mail last week, two residents who lost their homes on the fires had issues with being stopped by police at roadblocks.

Prevelly resident Tim Moore told a recent public meeting called by consultants preparing a report to the state government that he was prevented from reaching his 16-year-old daughter who was home alone.

Isaac’s Ridge resident Garrath Stewart said he was stopped from going to Surfers Point and had to drive back through the smoke on Wallcliffe Road across the fire front to Caves Road.

Noetic Solutions is to hand its report on the Margaret River and Nannup fires over by May 28.