Bushfire season red alert

Jackson Lavell-Lee and Callum HunterBusselton Dunsborough Times
City of Busselton Community and Emergency Services Manager Blake Moore and Busselton Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service Lieutenant Mark Box.
Camera IconCity of Busselton Community and Emergency Services Manager Blake Moore and Busselton Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service Lieutenant Mark Box. Credit: Busselton-Dunsborough Times, Jackson Lavell-Lee

Capes residents are being urged to devise bushfire survival plans now, ahead of what is tipped to be a dangerous fire season.

The calls come after a report, released by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Co-operative Research Centre, showed the region to have higher than normal fire potential due to rainfall deficiencies and warmer than average conditions forecast for October.

City of Busselton community and emergency services manager Blake Moore said the City was looking at bringing the prohibited burning season forward to avoid the growing risk in spring.

“We would like to encourage people to do their mitigation practices sooner rather than later,” he said.

“We encourage people to consult the Bureau of Meteorology before conducting any mitigation works or burning to make sure the winds aren’t above 15km/h.

“We are far behind the rainfall totals for the year and that’s going to increase the risk into the spring mitigation period.”

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, warmer and drier weather is predicted through to October, and despite recent rains, a lower than average annual rainfall has been recorded so far in 2019.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services commissioner Darren Klemm said people should prepare themselves and their properties as early as possible. “Have a five-minute fire chat with your family and housemates about what you will do if a bushfire threatens your property,” he said. “Preparation and planning are the key to surviving a major bushfire — take the time now to reduce fuel loads and potential fire dangers around your home.”

Acting DFES Superintendent South West Andrew Wright said bushfires could ignite anywhere at any time.

“The last three seasons have been very mild and we’ve escaped catastrophic fires,” he said.

“People can’t afford to be complacent ... Now is the time to create the bushfire survival plans. It’s vital.”

According to the report, the South West experienced its driest start to the year on record as well as its seventh-driest autumn, which led to soil moisture deficiencies and stress being placed on woody vegetation.

These were tipped in the report to be exacerbated by a predicted warmer-than-average October.

Preparation tool kits to help develop a bushfire survival plan are available on the DFES website.

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