BURNING permits within the City of Wanneroo have been cancelled due to risky conditions and an early start to the fire season.
Chief bush fire control officer Phil Hay said November conditions were similar to those usually experienced in mid to late December.
“We had a very dry winter,” he said.
“All our fuels on the ground – leaves and litter and stuff that burns through very easily – is very dry.”
Mr Hay said that meant fire outbreaks were about 1½ months ahead of normal conditions, and burn-offs were not going out like they normally would.
He said that meant there was a chance fires would escape, especially if no-one was supervising them in the following days, and fire crews were out attending to bush fires.
“We’ve had a couple of smaller ones – just people’s burn-offs that they haven’t extinguished properly,” he said.
“People need to really inspect any burning they have done in the last three or four months to make sure they are out.”While the City’s bush fire brigades and Department of Parks and Wildlife are allowed to continue prescribed burns, Mr Hay said the brigades were unlikely to do any more unless it was a high priority.
He said they would start inspecting fire breaks on private properties from Sunday and encouraged people to ensure there was a clear zone around buildings.
That would give firefighters the best chance to protect properties.
“Some houses just won’t be defendable (and we will) make a priority to defend the ones that are,” he said.
Mr Hay said the risky conditions existed across the State “from Geraldton to Albany” and volunteer firefighters could be called to help anywhere.
“City of Wanneroo is our number one priority (but) as was the case last year with the Bullsbrook fire that ran into Wanneroo, we always go and help out our colleagues,” he said.
Residents should visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au to understand the different alert levels.
“Advice means a fire has started and they need to be alert and aware of it,” Mr Hay said.
“Watch and act means the fire is moving – that’s the time when they should be leaving.
“Then there’s the emergency alert – it’s too late to leave; your life is in danger at that point.”
The Shire of Gingin required all fire breaks to be installed by November 1 and kept clear until May 31, 2016.
Mr Hay said people should report any suspicious behaviour in bush fire areas by calling police.