DFES: restricted access permits to be introduced for bushfire affected areas

DFES: restricted access permits to be introduced for bushfire affected areas

ONE of the main complaints by people affected by last year’s Waroona fires was the lack of access to their homes and pets.

This bushfire season the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) will simplify the process for people to enter areas affected by fire.

The Restricted Access Permit system will enable residents, business owners and utility companies to apply for permits to access the fire ground when there is an urgent need to return, including managing livestock or checking on infrastructure.

DFES Deputy Commissioner Lloyd Bailey said the initiative was designed to provide more flexibility while also ensuring community safety.

“To keep the community safe during bushfires, roads are often closed until the area is deemed safe,” he said.

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“However, we understand that there are some circumstances that require people to get in and out of these restricted areas.

“Restricted access permits may be granted for a number of reasons, including allowing people to activate their emergency plan, transport various commodities such as milk, water, stock feed and store supplies and tend to livestock.”

Restricted access permits are issued with specific conditions, such as the address authorised to visit, time the permit is valid for and whether the holder can re-enter the area.

Mr Bailey said the permits would only be available once the risk had reduced significantly, and asked for the community’s patience during this process.

“People must remember that areas impacted by a major bushfire can present many hazards, including fallen trees blocking roads, toxic or hazardous materials, energised power lines, fire or smoke and stray animals,” he said.