City of Wanneroo re-establishes bushfire advisory committee

Stock image.
Stock image.

CITY of Wanneroo re-established its bushfire advisory committee at the start of this bushfire season, a decade after disbanding it.

The committee had been disbanded with council endorsement in 2007 as part of a review of the City’s committees, with a brigade executive management team meeting monthly instead.

A November council report said the volunteer brigades asked to re-establish the advisory committee at the team’s September meeting as the monthly meetings focussed on operational issues rather than strategic matters.

It said the team, which includes Wanneroo’s chief bushfire control officer, deputy chiefs and brigade captains, unanimously agreed to re-establish the committee.

At the November council meeting, elected members agreed to appoint councillor Dot Newton to the committee as she is also the delegate on the local emergency management committee.

The committee’s objectives will be to advise the council on strategic actions relating to fire management plans, mitigation issues and community education.

It will also provide advice on “effective use of personnel, training, equipment, protective clothing and communication facilities” as well as annual fire breaks notices.

City reinstates brigade support for controlled burns

RISKS identified through an audit of emergency services management in the City of Wanneroo led to a temporary pause in prescribed burns on private properties ahead of this bushfire season.

The City received a petition in September asking it to immediately reinstate controlled burns on private land by the volunteer fire brigades.

According to the November council report, the audit recommended a review of work practices, which highlighted risks including the lack of documented procedures for doing the burns.

The report said the City had established interim procedures to allow those to resume in late September.

“The interim procedures allow for the City staff to supervise burns on private land in the lead up to this bushfire season,” it said.

“The training of brigade members in controlled situations is valuable experience in preparation for responding to out-of-control bushfires.”

The report said controlled burns on private property were a high priority to ensure community safety as well as that of volunteers and staff in this bushfire season.

At the meeting, councillor Frank Cvitan successfully moved an amendment to the recommendation to assure ratepayers that controlled burns would continue into the 2018-19 season.

“Originally there was some talk about volunteer fire brigades not being able to do these burns,” he said.

“This has now been reversed – we are going to continue this at least until 2018-19; that will give some confidence to our ratepayers.”

Cr Dot Newton said the burns protected individual properties and the ones next door.

“If risk mitigation hasn’t been done, then the whole road is at risk,” she said.

Mayor Tracey Roberts said the burn offs gave brigade members and cadets training opportunities to learn how to control fires in a controlled environment.

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