City disputes firebreak call

John Squarcini wants the council to clear firebreaks around Lake Adams. d415109
John Squarcini wants the council to clear firebreaks around Lake Adams. d415109

John Squarcini told the Times the vegetation on council-managed land around Lake Adams was dangerous and posed a risk to his adjacent 60ha property, which has 3m-wide firebreaks.

‘The council has refused to install proper firebreaks (around Lake Adams),’ Mr Squarcini said.

‘With the hot weather we have been experiencing, I am fearful that my property and the many surrounding residential properties will be burnt out if a fire starts.

‘I’m fearful somebody will throw a cigarette out ” that would burn the whole of Wanneroo out.

‘If we haven’t got any protection, the whole place will go up in smoke.’

Wanneroo chief bushfire control officer Phil Hay said the City removed some trees before the fire season and had cleared fire access tracks.

Mr Hay said there had been subsequent growth, as it was a highly sensitive area with peat soils and significant environmental value.

‘Any area is at risk in a bushfire, (but this) particular area is surrounded by low fuel areas between the residential properties and Lake Adams,’ Mr Hay said.

‘The City along with DFES have a number of pre-determined response plans and functions put in place.

‘The City is working proactively in reducing its risk right across the City and is undertaking extensive mitigation works.’

Mr Squarcini, who received an infringement in 2012 for not installing firebreaks on his Jandabup landholdings, said he received contradictory statements from the City and Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

He said he received one letter saying the City had a responsibility to ensure all vacant land complied with the WA Bush Fires Act, but others saying the council was not required to install firebreaks on its own land.

Mr Hay said staff and contractors continually upgraded and installed fire access tracks, doing 16 prescribed burns on the City’s land in the pre-summer period.

‘The results of work like this were seen (on February 3) when a fire started in Celadon Park (Banksia Grove),’ Mr Hay said.

‘This fire almost self-|extinguished due to the prescribed burn undertaken by the City in the lead-up to the summer.’