PEOPLE urgently needing to return to an area impacted by bushfire will now have the option to apply for a restricted access permit.
The initiative – trialled at the Parkerville bushfire in January 2014 –was undertaken by Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) and the inter-agency Traffic Management Working Group to allow residents, business owners and utility companies to apply for urgent access to manage livestock or check on infrastructure.
DFES Deputy Commissioner Lloyd Bailey said the permit system provided more flexibility while ensuring community safety.
“To keep the community safe during bushfires, roads are often closed until the area is deemed safe; however we understand that there are some circumstances that require people to get in and out of these restricted areas,” she said.
“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 would include specific conditions and details of the address and time to re-enter the fire site.
Deputy Commissioner Bailey said a permit would be available only when the risk had reduced significantly.
“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,” she said.
“Our top priority during a bushfire is keeping the community safe, and we urge people to remain vigilant of their surroundings while in the restricted area and keep up-to date with the bushfire warnings.”
Distribution of the permits would be via a unit set up in the community impacted by the emergency.
The permit, which could either be a sticker placed on a vehicle’s windscreen or a paper permit, would be viewed at vehicle control points along with a current identity document.
For more information about restricted access permits, visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au/permits.