A REPORT into the management of the South-West fire said the current system for managing bushfire in the state was “failing citizens and the government”.
Former Victorian Country Fire Service chief Euan Ferguson chaired the report and was critical of the current firefighting operations employed in WA.
“This analysis has highlighted deficiencies, not just in the firefighting operation, but also in the systems for managing bushfire in Western Australia,” he wrote.
“The system for managing rural fire has been variously described as, at best, ‘disjointed and disconnected’; at worst, ‘dysfunctional and broken’.
“Of particular concern were many reports that the current arrangements are failing the cornerstone of rural fire management in Western Australia – the Bush Fire Brigade volunteers.”
The January fire burned through 69,165ha of land, destroying 181 buildings and causing damages of about $155 million.
“This report must be a catalyst for change. Should there be no change, then this Special Inquiry has failed,” Mr Ferguson wrote.
He made 17 recommendations for change as part of the inquiry.
The report called for a Rural Fire Service to be created, similar to services currently employed in the eastern states.
Mr Ferguson pointed out there had been a dramatic increase in damaging and costly bushfires.
“In a hotter and drier world, the future will be increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. The bushfire problem will not diminish,” he said.