Firebreak plan doused

Fire ire: Residents’ group vice-president Ian Thurston with supporters. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d400238
Fire ire: Residents’ group vice-president Ian Thurston with supporters. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d400238

Locals have until June 7 to make a submission on the move that will impose the same firebreak period on rural properties as that shared by residential properties.

If accepted, owners of properties larger than half an acre would be required to maintain a trafficable firebreak three metres wide from November 1 of one year until May 31 of the following year.

A City spokesperson said aligning residential and rural firebreak periods would save confusion, better protect the city from fires and had been supported by the Bushfire Reference Group.

‘Significant recent fires in the Perth metropolitan area and the clearly evident change in the climate, resulting in longer, drier summers, illustrates that it is for the protection of the community that the firebreak be extended,’ they said.

Against the change is the Banjup Residents Group, which says there is no objective evidence of an increased fire risk in the extra months and that no Banjup resident was confused by the differing dates.

‘The City cites a pamphlet by the Indian Ocean Climate Initiative that says that the south west’s climate is gradually becoming drier and warmer,’ vice president Ian Thurston said.

‘They infer from this that the risk of a bushfire in November, April, and May has increased significantly and so fire breaks must be kept to mineral earth for an extra three months.

‘Banjup residents have read the detailed report by the IOCI, not just the headlines in the four page pamphlet, and found that it refers mainly to a reduction in winter rain in an area stretching from Capel to Manjimup to Albany and to Kalgoorlie.

‘It is not appropriate for the City of Cockburn to use Manjimup data as basis for policy making in Cockburn.’