Act to be ready for fire, residents urged: Shire of Mundaring

Stock image.
Stock image.

PAST surveys by the Shire of Mundaring show most residents understand the significant bushfire risk of living in the Hills environment.

But the State Government is concerned the Are You Ready? campaign is not treated with the same reverence in all bushfire-prone areas.

New research found three quarters of West Australians believed they were not at risk of bushfire and are likely to be underprepared.

DFES Deputy Commissioner Steve Fewster of Capability Command said the searing WA summer temperatures brought bushfire threats.

“Western Australia is one of the most bushfire-prone areas in the world and part of residing here is living with the bushfire threat,” he said.

“It is concerning to think that nearly three quarters of (survey) respondents don’t have a bushfire survival plan, but the good news is that you can sit down tonight with your family and write one up.

“I encourage everyone to get on board and do more than ever this year to prepare your home and family.”

In recent years, the shire has increased its emergency management team with fire protection officers conducting fire mitigation burns on reserves and shire-owned land.

The positive action has helped residents put bush fire preparedness and mitigation high on their list of priorities, according to the shire’s community perception surveys.

Shire chief executive Jonathan Throssell said fire-hazard inspection officers conducted hundreds of free property inspections and offered advice.

The shire also mails fire and burning information direct to all ratepayers, holds annual meet-and-reet sessions, and conducts an annual “Test your Bush Fire Survival Plan Day”.

A bushfire survival plan is essential to ensure everyone in the home knows when to leave early or is adequately prepared to stay and defend. “We believe the majority of residents act on this information and reduce their fuel loads accordingly,” Mr Throssell said.

“However, there are residents who still do not heed the warnings of the need to have their property prepared for the summer season.

“This is a risk not only to their safety, but to their families, even their neighbours.”

Mr Throssell said preparing for the bushfire season was a joint responsibility of State and local government, and residents.

“The warm weather is arriving a lot earlier each year and we encourage all residents to take the calls for action seriously.

“If you are not sure what you need to do to reduce fuel loads on your property, then contact our emergency management team on 9290 6696.”

DFES findings: 695 residents in Perth and the south-west land division surveyed in September (2015).

– Less than half know exactly what to do during a bushfire

– Nearly three quarters (74 per cent) do not have a bushfire plan

– Less than one quarter acknowledge their property is at risk

– Only 51 per cent of these have a bushfire survival plan

– 66 per cent have experienced a bushfire near their home.