Fire commissioner admits warning about Aveley blaze ‘not good enough’

Aveley fire aftermath, as seen from a drone. This indicates how close it got to houses. Photo: David Baylis
Aveley fire aftermath, as seen from a drone. This indicates how close it got to houses. Photo: David Baylis

THE Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner has admitted an alert about Saturday’s bushfire in Aveley should have gone out earlier to residents.

Darren Klemm said a ‘bushfire advice’ warning going out two hours after the fire started “was not good enough; we need to be getting those warnings out”.

“The initial arrival from the crews was such that the fire behaviour was reasonably benign,” he told ABC Radio this morning. “The fire was in paperbark so it always tends to look a lot worse.

“A short time later the fire escalated and a whole range of competing priorities for the incident controller meant that the warning wasn’t put out.

“There was then a subsequent call to a house fire in the vicinity which was actually incorrect. They spent some time investigating that.

Aveley fire aftermath. Photo: David Baylis

“It wasn’t until after that that the DFES media department picked up that the warning hadn’t gone out.”

Mr Klemm said there were checks and balances above the incident controller to “make sure gaps are picked up”.

“That’s the bit we’re focusing on now,” he said of the review into the DFES response to the fire.

He said the review was an opportunity to look into the use of an automated first warning.

It was also an opportunity to “improve the way we deliver a warning and the timing of it”.

Mr Klemm said he had advised Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan last night of his initial findings before talking to him later in the week.

MORE: Asbestos found at Scarborough foreshore redevelopment

MORE: Boy arrested on robbery charge after ‘flipping off’ police

MORE: Man fined for allowing pool to become infested with mosquitoes

MORE: Singapore Airlines’ first 787 Dreamliner touches down at Perth Airport