Cockburn City to hire bushfire risk assessment officer

The City of Cockburn is planning to hire a bushfire risk assessment officer.
The City of Cockburn is planning to hire a bushfire risk assessment officer.

BUSHFIRE exposure is considered a high risk for the City of Cockburn which plans to hire a dedicated bushfire risk assessment officer.

The position will be advertised in October ahead of the bushfire season and firebreaks inspections that were traditionally undertaken by a ranger.

In addition to firebreak inspections, the new role will include bushfire risk assessments on State land, mitigation strategies for council reserves, advocacy, and updating fuel load mapping within the City.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services statistics show 158ha was burnt two years ago in the City of Cockburn as a result of 237 fires.

The last summer was milder, with 138 bushfires recorded in the area for the financial year and a total of 14ha burnt.

The City has noticed an increase in infringements being issued since trialling a new concept of rural inspections by an assessment officer instead of a ranger, up 183 per cent last bushfire season to 230 infringements.

The City has adopted a Bushfire Risk Management Plan, creating a risk rating for more than 250 assets including the hundreds of homes that are next to bushland.

City acting Rangers and Community Safety manager Michael Emery said the new officer would help all stakeholders work closer together to reduce bushfire risk.

“Fuel loads are a key contributor to bushfire risk, as they directly affect the intensity of a fire,” he said.

“Managing these fuel loads through manual removal of dead vegetation and hazard reduction burns does assist, but greater mitigation works, such as weed spraying before winter and improving access for firefighting vehicles also have a significant role in reducing bushfire risk.

“Educating nearby residents and working with State agencies such as the Department of Fire and Emergency Services is also fundamental to the State’s share responsibility ethos in reducing bushfire risk.”