Out-of-control burn off comes close to Mundaring property

Burnt bush and damaged fencing in the aftermath of the reduction burn. Pictures: Trisha Hazell
Burnt bush and damaged fencing in the aftermath of the reduction burn. Pictures: Trisha Hazell

AN out-of-control hazard reduction burn came dangerously close to property in Mundaring.

Trisha Hazell lost about a quarter of a hectare of bushland after a neighbour’s fire destroyed some perimeter fencing and threatened a stable block.

The next day she found a native marsupial, believed to be a brush-tailed phascogale, among the ashes.

“It’s quite devastating to look at and makes me very sad. We weren’t home at the time and I’m so grateful it didn’t reach the house or more of the dog area,” she said.

“It’s scary enough living with the risk of bushfires in the Hills without having to worry about people lighting fires; people need to make sure a fire is completely out before walking away.”

Mundaring Shire is asking residents to take more care after volunteer fire brigades attended 14 escaped fires over the weekend.

Some of the flare-ups started from smouldering piles or illegal burns that took hours to extinguish.

People who illegally burn without a permit or do not extinguish a fire may be issued with a $250 infringement from the Shire.

The fine excludes any prosecution for damages a resident may be liable for under the Bushfires Act 1954 and where a magistrate may impose a fine up to $10,000 for contravening the Bush Fires Act.

The dead marsupial found after the fire.

Shire chief bushfire control officer Jamie O’Neill said escaped burns had the potential to cause significant damage.

“Our local volunteer fire brigades have been increasingly called upon as a direct result of community members failing to properly extinguish burns on their properties,” he said.

Some residents expect burning piles to ‘fizzle out’ but fires must be extinguished before midnight, as per the Shire’s burning regulations.

“Residents’ failure to properly saturate the burn area with water once complete has meant many fires have continued to burn peat and roots underground, eventually becoming uncontained,” he said.

“These escaped burns have not only damaged property belonging to residents and their neighbours but have incurred added costs of volunteer and local government time and resources.”

He said fuel load reduction on property was essential, but the Shire’s burning regulations must be followed to ensure community safety.

Call Mundaring Shire fire safety team on 9290 6696 for advice or refer to the Shire of Mundaring Fire and Burning Information booklet.

To book a free place in the Shire’s winter burning workshops, visit the website or call 9290 6696.

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