City of Gosnells chief wants greater direction in fire risk management

City of Gosnells chief wants greater direction in fire risk management

GOSNELLS chief executive Ian Cowie says greater direction is required in relation to bushfire risk management in environmentally sensitive areas such as bush forever sites.

Premier Colin Barnett said he would support all 17 recommendations of the Special Inquiry into the January 2016 Waroona Fire by Euan Ferguson AFSM, including the implementation of a Rural Fire Service.

Mr Ferguson recommended the establishment of a Rural Fire Service (RFS) and emphasised the importance of local knowledge and experience in fighting bushfires.

Mr Cowie said it was extremely difficult for the City to balance competing priorities.

“There seem to be varying views between different departments of the State Government as to whether bushfire risk mitigation or environmental conservation should take precedence in these areas,” he said.

The Western Australian Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services Association said the creation of a fully independent RFS would be a short sighted and financially irresponsible decision that would not serve the communities of Western Australia any better than the current arrangements.

Association president Paul du Boulay said: “We strongly believe that a rural operations sub-department of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services would be a more efficient, co-operative, financially viable and effective path forwards.”

Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale president John Erren said the Shire was a high bushfire risk area with an average of 350 fires per year.

“Some of these fires have threatened our towns and properties in the past, so residents need to make sure they have prepared themselves properly,” he said.

The City of Armadale was contacted for comment.

Some of the things residents can do to prepare their property in the coming months includes:

Move woodpiles and stacked timber well away from the main dwelling.

Keep all grasses short.

Clean gutters and rooves of any flammable debris.

Remove fallen leaves and twigs, and keep trees under-pruned and at least 2m from any building.

Chemical spraying of firebreaks and low fuel zones – final applications and maintenance.

Landowners are reminded that fire breaks, in accordance with Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale Firebreak notice, must be installed by 30 November 2016.