A confidential report has revealed a litany of errors by the Department of Environment and Conservation during a massive bushfire near Nannup last year - sparked by an escaped prescribed burn - which razed 50,000ha and left a young farm worker fighting for his life.
Noetic Consultants was appointed to investigate how the Fire and Emergency Services Authority, DEC and local government handled the November 2011 Milyeannup bushfire which severely damaged several farm properties and left Estonian farmhand Mikk Annamaa critically injured when he crashed his quadbike escaping the fire.
A draft report obtained by _The West Australian _says the DEC failed to prepare adequately for the "red flag" prescribed burn, which escaped on November 23 and raged until December 5.
The independent consultant made 36 recommendations to improve fire management in WA but warned "while much can be learnt, the nature of fires means there is no guarantee this could not happen again".
The report says DEC's response to the Milyeannup fire was severely hampered by the demands of the Margaret River fire which started at the same time.
The DEC's initial decision to light the prescribed burn near Milyeannup was flawed and informal, the report said.
"By the time sufficient resources were available the fire was essentially uncontrollable until weather conditions assisted the effort," the report said.
The report also reveals a lack of cohesion between the DEC and volunteer firefighters.
Volunteer firefighters who arrived to help were turned away because the operations manager could not assess their experience and they had incompatible communication systems with DEC, it says.
A Department of Premier and Cabinet spokesman said the final report was only received by the State Government on Friday .Scott River farmer Alison Scott says she is still to receive any compensation for her uninsured losses. "I still think they're bloody lucky nobody died," she said.
'The West Australian' is a trademark of West Australian Newspapers Limited 2013.
All rights reserved.
Select your state to see news for your area.