Emergency Services and Bushfire Information

Important Dates to Remember

Note

Unseasonal weather conditions may necessitate a variation to these dates.

During the Prohibited Burning Time, setting fire to bush is prohibited at all times.

Burning is prohibited on days where the Fire Danger Rating is Very High or above and if either a Total Fire Ban/Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban is declared.

Prior to any burning, residents should advise the Department of Fire and Emergency Services’ Communication Centre on 08 9395 9209 as well as a Permit Issuing Officer.

Residents should monitor murray.wa.gov.au or contact the Shire’s Ranger and Emergency Services 08 9531 7777.

Preparing for fires is essential to living in our fire prone landscape.

Having a plan is the primary step to ensuring the survivability of your property and the welfare of you and your family, including pets and livestock.

In a bushfire, every minute counts especially the next five. Visit dfes.wa.gov.au/firechat to prepare a plan, by having a five minute fire chat with your family.

It is also imperative that you prepare your property thoroughly, well before the fire season.

It will be too late to prepare when a serious fire is threatening. Fuel loads influence the bushfire intensity. If the intensity of the fire is low, then there are more options available to firefighters to suppress the fire.

If you are planning to build or to undertake any building work, you are advised to comply with Australian Standard AS3959 ‘Building in Bush Fire Prone Areas’.

Public utilities such as telephone, power and water supplies are often damaged during major bushfires and may not be available to you when you need them.

If you are well prepared, your property has a greater chance of surviving a bushfire.

Don’t Fuel Fires

  • Don’t have thick vegetation right up to the walls of your home.
  • Clear all flammable material from around houses, sheds and fences.
  • Store firewood, timber, petrol and kerosene well away from the house.
  • Don’t have flammable trees such as conifers near buildings.
  • Clear all dead leaves out of gutters regularly.
  • Remove dead trees and branches which, when burning, could drop on your roof.
  • Remove rubbish regularly.
  • Rake up leaves, twigs and dead material regularly.
  • Burn off dry grass and vegetation at the approved times and in the approved manner or consult the alternatives to burning overleaf.

Permit to Burn

During Restricted Burning Times, a Permit to Burn is required and is obtainable free of charge from:

  • Local Bush Fire Brigade Fire Control Officers
  • Locality Permit Issuing Officer

Note:

  • No permits will be issued during the Prohibited Burning Time
  • Permits to Burn will not be issued in relation to properties < 4,000m2
  • Permit holders are required to adhere to all conditions on the permit
  • Special conditions may apply
  • Even when a Permit to Burn has been issued, no fire is to be lit when the fire danger rating is Very High or above

 

Permit Issuing Officer Contact Details

Stay Informed

Total Fire Bans

What are they?

A Total Fire Ban (TFB) is declared by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) following consultation with Local Governments because of extreme weather conditions or when widespread fires are seriously stretching firefighting resources.

During a TFB the lighting of any fires in the open air and any other activities that may start a fire, are prohibited, this includes:

  • All open air fires for the purpose of cooking or camping i.e. wood fuel barbeques, candles and pizza ovens.
  • Incinerators, welding, grinding, soldering or gas cutting, angle grinders and lawnmowers.

Penalty: Up to $25,000 fine and/or a 12 month jail term.

Exemptions may be granted by DFES and must be requested in writing.

Harvest and Vehicle Movement Bans

  • Shire of Murray (08) 9531 7777
  • ABC 720AM Local Radio
  • Local Fire Control Officer

What are they?

Harvest and Vehicle Movement Bans (HVMB) are imposed by Local Government under the Bush Fires Regulations 1954 Section 38A, and/or Section 24C, when prevailing and/or anticipated weather conditions and/or when availability and/or response capacity of the local firefighting resources are reduced.

A HVMB may be imposed for any length of time but is generally imposed for ‘heat of the day’ periods and may be extended or revoked as weather conditions change.

During a HVMB the use of the following items is prohibited, in order to mitigate the associated risk of causing or
contributing to the spread of a bushfire:

  • Engines, vehicles, plant and machinery.

SMS Alerts

Broadcast of local Harvest and Vehicle Movement Bans, Total Fire Bans and other information.

To subscribe email your first name, surname, mobile number and email address to: mailbag@murray.wa.gov.au

SMS Alerts do not include alerts about fires or other emergencies.

Terms and Conditions

  1. By subscribing to this service you agree to receive SMS messages from the Shire of Murray regarding Harvest and Vehicle Movement Bans and other bans imposed during the fire season.
  2. You accept that by subscribing to this service you will receive message for the current and future fire seasons.
  3. The Shire of Murray reserves the right to discontinue this service at any time. Any decision to discontinue this service will be advised via this SMS service.
  4. You accept that radio announcements are still the primary means of notification of bans. In the event of a discrepancy between this SMS service and an announcement on the radio, the latter shall prevail.
  5. You have the right to unsubscribe from this service at any time. To unsubscribe, please notify the Shire of Murray in writing, via fax on (08) 9531 7716 or email mailbag@murray.wa.gov.au. Do not attempt to unsubscribe via replying to an SMS notification.
  6. You accept that the Shire may from time to time use this SMS service to send other topical messages.

If you have any further enquiries please do not hesitate to contact the Emergency Services Coordinator during normal business hours on (08) 9531 7716.

Fire Danger Ratings

  • dfes.wa.gov.au
  • bom.gov.au/wa
  • emergency.wa.gov.au

Shire of Murray Fire Weather District

  • Lower West Coast
  • Lower West Inland

It is important to keep abreast of an area’s Fire Danger Rating (FDR), monitor local conditions and keep informed.

Understanding the FDR categories will help inform decisions about what to do if a bushfire starts.

The FDR is based on the forecast weather conditions and offers advice about the level of bushfire threat on a particular day. When the rating is High, the threat of a bushfire increases.

If the FDR is Extreme or Catastrophic residents should leave the day or hours before a fire might threaten, as this is the best option for survival.

Understanding Fire Danger Ratings

CATASTROPHIC 100+
Total Fire Bans will be declared. Some fires will be unpredictable, difficult to control and fast moving. A well prepared, well constructed and actively defended home may not survive a fire.

EXTREME 75–99
Total Fire Bans will be declared. Some fires will be unpredictable, difficult to control and fast moving. A well prepared, well constructed and actively defended home may not survive a fire.

SEVERE 50–74
Total Fire Bans are likely. Some fires will be unpredictable, difficult to control and fast moving.

VERY HIGH 32–49
Total Fire Bans are likely. Some fires will be unpredictable, difficult to control and may be fast moving.

HIGH 12–31
Fires can be controlled but there is still a potential threat.

LOW–MODERATE 0–11
Fires can be easily controlled and are slow moving.

Additional Information

Camping, Cooking and Garden Refuse

Outdoor Cooking

Gas and Electric Barbeques 

  • Permitted at any time

Solid Fuel Barbecues, Spit Roasts, Webers, Pizza Ovens and Other Cooking Fires

Prohibited Burning Time

  • Prohibited at all times

Restricted Burning Times

  • Prohibited when the Fire Danger Rating is Very High or above, or when a Total Fire Ban has been declared
  • Permitted at all other times, if constructed in a way which prevents the escape of sparks or burning material and is within a three (3) metre fuel free zone
  • Somebody must be in attendance at all times and a means of extinguishing the fire must be on hand

Burning of Garden Refuse or Rubbish

Includes incinerators and on the ground.

Prohibited Burning Time

  • Prohibited at all times

Restricted Burning Time

  • Prohibited on land <4,000m2
  • Prohibited when the Fire Danger Rating is Very High or above or if a Total Fire Ban has been declared
  • Permitted at all other times on land >4,000m2. One small heap (up to one (1) cubic metre) may be burnt on the ground, without a Permit to Burn, between 6:00pm and 11:00pm but only if it is completely extinguished before midnight on the same day, a five (5) metre firebreak has been cleared and at least one able bodied person remains in attendance.

Alternatives to Burning

There are a range of alternatives to burning waste which will not harm the environment or cause health problems for you or your neighbours.

  • Grass can be slashed, grazed or reduced with herbicide to decrease fuel loads. This may be a practical alternative particularly if erosion is a concern or in areas which are difficult to access
  • Ratepayers and residents are encouraged to dispose of green waste and garden refuse via the two annual Green Waste Verge Collections
  • Shire of Murray ratepayers and residents are also able to dispose of their green waste and garden refuse at the Corio Road and Dwellingup Waste Transfer Stations
  • Garden refuse (particularly grass clippings, leaves and twigs) can also be used as a mulch or compost in the garden to improve soils and the growth of plants
  • If you have large quantities of green waste (branches, tree trunks) you can arrange for mobile mulching services for the material on–site
  • Mulching and composting at home avoids the need to burn off and is an environmentally friendly way to deal with green waste. For information regarding composting, please contact the Shire of Murray Environmental Services on (08) 9531 7777
  • Mulch piles should be no larger than five (5) cubic metres to reduce the risk of spontaneous combustion and piles should have a three (3) metre firebreak surrounding the pile

Smoke Management

Considerations prior to burning:

  • Weather conditions – always check with the Bureau of Meteorology for haze alerts and weather conditions in your area
  • Tell your neighbours – give sufficient notice of your intention to burn to ensure adequate preparation time especially for relocating any persons with respiratory issues
  • Condition of refuse – only burn dry dead material to minimise the amount of smoke produced
  • Control the load – do not burn more than you can manage, commence with a smaller fire and gradually add more material

Shire of Murray Health Local Law

The Shire of Murray Health Local Law prohibits the burning of the following materials which cause the generation of smoke or odour in such quantities as to cause a nuisance to other persons:

  • Plastic
  • Rubber
  • Food scraps
  • Green garden materials

Variation to Restricted and Prohibited Burning Times

If a local government considers that seasonal conditions warrant, the local government may, after consultation with an authorised Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions Officer if forest land is situated in its district vary the Restricted Burning times in respect of that year in the district or a part of the district by:

  • Shortening, extending, suspending or reimposing a period of restricted burning times
  • Imposing a further period of Restricted Burning Times
  • Vary the prescribed conditions by modifying or suspending all or any of those conditions
  • A variation shall not be made if that variation would have the effect of shortening the Restricted Burning Times by suspending the Restricted Burning Times, or any prescribed condition, for more than 14 successive days during a period that would, in the absence of the variation under this subsection, be part of the Restricted Burning Times for that zone in that year

The Shire will advertise any variations to the above periods within a local newspaper circulating within the district. However it is the responsibility of individuals to ensure they are up to date with local restrictions prior to undertaking any activities that are likely to cause a fire.

Can We Access Your Property?

Did You Know?

In order for fire appliances to access your property safely, firebreaks are required to be no less than three (3) metres wide and have no less than 4.5 metres vertical clearance. Fire appliances must be able to fit through gates on your property.

The average fire appliance is nine (9) metres in length.

Emergency Management

Under the Emergency Management Act 2005, local governments are required to perform various tasks which assist the community to prepare, prevent, respond and recover from various emergencies.

The Shire has plans and structures to bring together government, voluntary and private agencies, to deal with major emergencies through its Local Emergency Management Committee (LEMC). These plans cover all emergency requirements, including prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.

Local Emergency Management Committee

The LEMC is made up of representatives from:

  • Shire of Murray
  • Western Australian Local Police (WAPOL)
  • Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES)
  • Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions
  • Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades (VBFB)
  • Murray State Emergency Services (SES)
  • Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services (VFRS)
  • Department for Child Protection and Family Support (CPFS)
  • State Emergency Management Committee (SEMC)
  • St John Ambulance
  • Alcoa
  • Main Roads
  • Water Corporation
  • Western Power
  • ATCO Gas
  • Pinjarra Network of Schools
  • Bedingfeld Park Inc Aged Care Facility

The LEMC meets quarterly to discuss the Shire’s current emergency services, preparation plans in the event of any emergency and how to assist the community to recover from such an event.

Emergency Services

Volunteers are an integral part of delivering emergency service activities within the district on behalf of the Shire of Murray. The Shire has five Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades (VBFB) and one State Emergency Service (SES) Unit operating within the district.

Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades

West Australians who live in the urban rural interface, and in rural and pastoral areas rely heavily on Volunteer Bushfire Bridges for protection against the threat and devastation of fire.

There are approximately 31,000 volunteers who help to protect Western Australia from bushfires through fire prevention, risk management, fire suppression and fire safety education.

Shire of Murray Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades:

  • Coolup Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade
  • Dwellingup Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade
  • North Dandalup Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade
  • South Yunderup/Ravenswood Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade
  • West Murray Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade

State Emergency Service

When a natural disaster such as a storm, cyclone, earthquake or flood strikes Murray State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers can be found helping to secure and restore communities.

SES provides a wide range of services to help communities cope with the effects of natural disasters, from emergency repairs on buildings to restoration of essential services and the ferrying of cargo and passengers across flood waters.

Vehicle Indentifier Sticker System (VIS)

The Vehicle Identifier Sticker System ensures the safe and effective recognition, organisation and coordination of farmer response and private contractor firefighting resources within the Shire of Murray.

VIS permits are available to vehicles/machines that can assist with fire suppression operations.

Please note, VIS does not incorporate Forestry industries.

To apply, please complete the ‘Vehicle Identifier Sticker Permit Application Form’ and return via email to mailbag@murray.wa.gov.au.

The issue of VIS is solely undertaken by the Shire of Murray, due to officers’ local knowledge.

The responsibility for individuals to fight fire on their own land is and has always been an important part of Western Australia’s firefighting suppression regime. Private equipment use is instrumental in the protection of property. Bush Fire Brigades developed from such beginnings.

The Shire acknowledges the key roles that individuals play in keeping our community safe.

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