Authorities warn dry conditions could bring early bushfires
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) is asking the community to prepare their properties now, with warm and dry conditions increasing the risk of an early start to the southern bushfire season.
The Spring Seasonal Bushfire Outlook, released today by the Australasian Fire Authorities Council, indicates that parts of southern Western Australia are drier than usual due to low winter rainfall.
With spring conditions forecast to bring above-average temperatures and below-average rainfall, Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM said firefighters were preparing for dangerous fire weather to arrive early.
Commissioner Klemm urged people living between the Mid West and Great Southern to take advantage of the current mild conditions to prepare for the warmer months ahead.
“Warm weather and dry fuel means bushfires in November could escalate quickly and the window for planned burning could close earlier than usual, so people should be looking at doing bushfire mitigation sooner rather than later,” he said.
“The next two months create an ideal window of opportunity to conduct planned burns, clear and prune vegetation, build firebreaks and make your home ember-proof."
Last year was a comparatively milder bushfire season in WA so it’s very important people don’t become complacent – take the steps now to reduce the fire risk around your home because firefighters cannot be at every property.”
In comparison, authorities are not expecting any increased fire risk in the Pilbara due to average fuel, moisture and weather conditions.
Unusually high rainfall in the Kimberley during wet season and June will delay the onset of late dry season conditions, providing more time for planned burning across the region.
Commissioner Klemm said every Western Australian needed to have a bushfire plan and a well-prepared property, regardless of where they lived.
“Embers can travel up to 20 kilometres during a bushfire, bringing the fire to your doorstep,” he said.
“I urge people to use the My Bushfire Plan website and app to develop an easily accessible plan that outlines what they will do if a bushfire occurs, helping to avoid last-minute decisions that could prove life-threatening.”
Planning includes preparing an emergency evacuation kit with a battery-operated AM/FM radio to stay up to date with warnings and information if there are telecommunications outages.
For more information and advice on bushfire preparation, visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au/bushfire