Calls for fire buffer zone


Lindsay Martin next to a locked gate at the only secondary escape route if a fire threatened Yorna Road. Picture: David Baylis d448882
Lindsay Martin next to a locked gate at the only secondary escape route if a fire threatened Yorna Road. Picture: David Baylis d448882

He has written repeatedly to Parks and Wildlife asking for a burn-off in part of Mundy Regional Park near homes in Ozone Terrace and Alpine and Yorna roads. The only way in and out of the residential area surrounded by parkland is along Yorna Road.

Mr Martin said if a fire started at night with a strong easterly wind, he feared the worst as many people caught unawares could find their only escape route closed.

There are more than 100 homes on the escarpment overlooking Whistlepipe Gully.

“If Yorna Road was cut off, anyone beyond the road would have no way out by car,” Mr Martin said.

He said the only alternative would be through a locked gate to a fire access track and a dangerously steep incline through the park.

Mr Martin wants a buffer zone where parks border housing.

“Kalamunda is very vulnerable and could well end up like Yarloop,” he said.

“I know we chose to live in a high-risk area; all I ask is a fighting chance.”

Mr Martin said he was aware of two prescribed burns in the regional park this year, but none in the area near the escarpment properties.

“There are a lot of residential areas that back onto parks in the state and a little help wouldn’t go amiss,” he said.

“We are urged to clean up our property and have a survival plan, but what good is it if you border a regional park that has not had a controlled burn near a residential area?”

Parks and Wildlife is responsible for undertaking bushfire mitigation works in parks and fire access tracks at the rear of properties are commonplace where homes border parks.

A Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman said Mundy Regional Park had a number of prescribed burns over the past five years.

She said present exit and entry arrangements in the area were the result of historical planning decisions approved when the area was developed.

Future planning proposals near parks are likely to be subject to state planning policy in bushfire-prone areas.

“The department also prepares a fire response plan for the regional park in consultation with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and the shire,” the spokeswoman said.

She said the department undertook firebreak inspections and maintenance on an annual basis to ensure fire breaks were 3m wide and had 4m vertical clearance.

“A prescribed burn was carried out over part of this area (east of Yorna Road) four years ago,” the spokeswoman said.

“The entire area was not burnt at this time because the section that remained unburnt has been heavily dieback-infested and therefore carries a lower fuel load.”

An area adjoining Ozone Terrace is due for a prescribed burn later this year.

There are 340 reserves in the Shire of Kalamunda and many have homes built nearby.

Mundaring chief executive Jonathan Throssell said the responsibility for bush fire mitigation works rested with the owner or management authority of the reserve concerned.

“Parks and Wildlife is responsible for such works on its reserves, while the shire is responsible for works on shire reserves,” he said.

Fire safety is available on the shire websites.

BUSHFIRE READY

OF the 516 work orders issued to homeowners by the Shire of Kalamunda, 375 have completed bush fire mitigation requirements.

“The Shire has issued 40 infringements and property inspections are ongoing,” a Shire spokeswoman said.

Annual firebreak and fuel load notice requirements are in place from November 1 to March 31.