Many still not fire-ready

Ranger James Bredice prepares evidence for a property report.
Ranger James Bredice prepares evidence for a property report.

Shire chief executive Jonathan Throssell said 53 ratepayers had failed to comply and were issued with immediate work orders from December 1. There were also eight infringement notices issued, five forced works and two likely prosecutions, he said.

The figures come as Volunteer Bushfire Brigades of WA president Terry Hunter called on property owners to take more responsibility for fire safety.

‘It’s not just about you and your family,’ he said. ‘You have to think of your neighbours and also the career and volunteer firefighters who risk their lives to protect you and your home.’

Mr Hunter also called on councils to adopt a standardised approach to assessment and enforcement of fire safety standards.

‘A uniform, considered approach is needed on all levels to reduce hazards,’ Mr Hunter said. ‘There is a huge difference in the way fire safety is enforced.’

He urged the State Government to regulate how councils conduct their bushfire mitigation procedures, to ensure stronger enforcement.

The City of Swan issued warnings to about 1500 property owners to better prepare their homes against the threat of bushfires.

City chief executive Mike Foley said the council inspected all at-risk properties and more than 60 homeowners were identified as failing to meet fire safety standards under Section 33 of the Bush Fires Act 1954.

The fine for failing to adequately address homes under fire threat is $250. However, if the matter is taken before a court, the fine is usually much larger, he said.

The Shire of Kalamunda also issued 262 warnings to ratepayers, as well as 35 infringement notices.

Chief executive Rhonda Hardy said 90 per cent of private properties had been inspected since October and check-ups were ongoing.

‘We have a very experienced fire control team, including a community emergency services manager, who works closely with our dedicated local volunteer fire brigade,’ she said.

Mr Foley said the City had four community safety advocates who conducted inspections of properties during the fire season and its fire and emergency management team addressed fire risks year-round.

Pre-inspection generally starts in late October, with officers actively engaging with landowners during the compliance stage, from November 2 to April 30, he said.