Fireys ‘on edge’ as absentee owners miss the mark

That's not a break: Firefighters continue to discover poorly maintained firebreaks in the region. Photo: Wallcliffe Volunteer Fire Brigade
That's not a break: Firefighters continue to discover poorly maintained firebreaks in the region. Photo: Wallcliffe Volunteer Fire Brigade

Property owners in the Shire of Augusta Margaret River have once again been warned of potentially catastrophic results after more discoveries of poorly maintained firebreaks and properties requiring preparation for bushfire season. 

A Facebook post by the Wallcliffe Volunteer Fire Brigade drew attention to properties with absentee owners, with a photograph of an overgrown firebreak in Kilcarnup.

“It’s little better than a kangaroo track.

“We take this opportunity to remind people that holiday homes in the bush come with responsibilities and obligations to your neighbours to maintain your property to a certain standard.

“It is unfair that you compromise your local community and potentially deadly to volunteer firefighters.”

Shire Community Emergency Services Manager Chris Lloyd said he and senior brigade members felt on edge about fire season. 

“We live in a declared bushfire prone area and we have mitigated to the capacity of our resources,” he said. 

“A lot of good work has been done and we have come in leaps and bounds in terms of taking a more strategic approach but we can’t reduce fuel loads for the whole region. 

“We desperately need property owners to come to the party and ensure their land is well-prepared for fire risk, whether it’s residential or rural, commercial or industrial, occupied or vacant, developed or undeveloped, or otherwise.”

Mr Lloyd said he feared property owners didn’t understand the collective responsibility they had in ensuring the safety of the whole community.

“The preparedness of any one property can significantly influence the spread of fire to other neighbouring properties.

“A well prepared property with low fuel loads and good access for fire appliances gives firefighters the opportunity to save that lot, and provides potential to slow or even stop the spread of fire to neighbouring lots. Conversely a poorly prepared property can accelerate a fire and cause devastating consequences on that lots and neighbouring lots.”

Mr Lloyd said effective fire management relied on mass subscription to the fire management requirements.

“Fuel loads are high and dry this year and I reiterate to you the danger of fire in this region is real and you need to be prepared,” he said. 

“Prepare your property, and play your part in reducing risk to yourself, your neighbours, and the wider community.”

For full details on fire season requirements view the 2018-19 Fire Management Notice at www.amrshire.wa.gov.au

The Prohibited Burning Period runs from 22 December to 13 March 2019, which bans all burning and campfires, before reverting to a Restricted Burning Period until 12 May 2019.