Mundaring Shire residents urged to be careful after hazard reduction burns ‘escape’

Firefighters attended an out-of-control burn in Helena Valley. Photo: supplied
Firefighters attended an out-of-control burn in Helena Valley. Photo: supplied

RESIDENTS are asked to take more care after 14 hazard reduction burns on properties in Mundaring Shire escalated to out-of-control.

Some of the burn offs took volunteer fire brigades 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 weekend incidents were from smouldering fires or illegal burning.

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 expected the 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 while fuel load reductions on properties were essential, 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.

The Shire reminds residents to follow the burn-off checklist below:

Before lighting a 1sqm pile:

Notify neighbours
Rake a firebreak around the pile
Have the garden hose nearby
Ensure the hose can reach the pile
Check the weather conditions.

During the burn:

Monitor smoke level
Ensure fire is contained within firebreak.
Stay nearby to attend the fire.

After the burn:

Extinguish using water saturation
Area should be cold with no steam or smoke
Inspect the next morning
Monitor for next couple of days
Leave the garden hose nearby.