Prepare to Survive this Bushfire Season

Prepare to Survive this Bushfire Season
December 5, 2019 Katherine Stevens

Murray residents and landowners received a timely reminder of the imminent bushfire season, with a fire that threatened properties in Nambeelup last week.

The safety of our community, residents, visitors, firefighters and volunteers greatly depends on the preparedness of landowners and residents, with last week’s bushfire demonstrating just how quickly a fire can spread, given the right conditions.

Living in a bushfire prone area and with a particularly warm summer anticipated, it is imperative that residents and landowners adequately undertake fire prevention works around their home and properties and prepare and/or revise their bushfire plans remembering to plan for the safety of pets and livestock.

For assistance, community members can visit dfes.wa.gov.au/firechat and ensure that all individuals named in the plan understand what actions need to be taken in an emergency.

Fire prevention works including firebreak establishment and upkeep, asset protection zones, clearing driveways to enable access, gutter clearing, trimming of overhanging branches and rubbish removal, was due by 30 November.

Murray and Waroona fire prevention inspections have commenced and will continue for the next six to eight weeks.

It is critical that landowners and residents yet to complete their prevention works, undertake the necessary actions, as penalties will apply for non-compliance.

If residents are concerned about a particular land, they are encouraged to contact the Shire on 08 9531 7777.

The district’s Prohibited Burning Time commenced on 1 December and will remain in effect until 31 March, 2020.

It is an apt time of year to acknowledge Murray’s emergency service organisations, brigades and volunteers. Their tireless efforts and selfless sacrifice help to protect and sustain the district and are an invaluable cog in strengthening and supporting the community.

2019 district bushfire preparedness efforts where bolstered in November when a group of 27 volunteers and State Emergency Service representatives, undertook fire bomber loader training at Wheeler Airfield.

The volunteers were taught how to safety reload water bombers and prepare the aircrafts for service.

Wheeler Airfield played a pivotal role in extinguishing the Waroona-Yarloop bushfires in 2016, accommodating over 440 aircraft movements and allowing for the supply and transportation of 1,209,600 litres of water to the fire zone.

The Airfield has since undergone redevelopment works to better accommodate fixed wing aircraft and water requirements for firefighting air operations.

Since 1998, Wheeler Airfield has been used by fixed wing aircrafts for firefighting air operations due to its central location, 65km north of Bunbury, 44km south of the Serpentine Airfield, 76km south of Jandakot and 28 km south west of Dwellingup.

Landholder Raalin Wheeler’s willingness to permit access to the facility for training and use during emergency situations has enabled the district’s volunteers to upskill through training opportunities and provides an essential firefighting amenity.

Further redevelopment plans are being considered for future years, with emergency services and the Shire of Murray appreciative of Mr. Wheeler’s ongoing support for the airfields use for firefighting operations.

Further fire prevention preparations saw Murray’s volunteer bushfire brigades undertake Rural Urban Interface Training in North Dandalup as a pre-season exercise, while Shire owned reserves were mowed, firebreaks established and hazard reduction burns, slashing, spraying and the trimming of overhanging trees completed. The Shire’s fire appliances have also been serviced.

Preparing for fires is essential for living in our fire prone landscape and prevention works assist in ensuring that Murray is as safe as possible.

Don’t let you or your neighbour be a victim this fire season. Well prepared properties stand a greater chance of surviving a bushfire.

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