As 80 volunteer fire fighters battled the region’s biggest blaze so far this season, new figures show the number of bushfire infringements handed out by the City of Busselton has risen by 62 per cent.
The bushfire at the Ambergate Reserve started on Monday, ravaging 40ha and threatening homes.
The all-clear was finally given on Wednesday at 10am.
The City issued 201 infringement notices for non-compliance with the Fire Break and Fuel Hazard Reduction Notice in December last year, up from 124 in the same period in 2011.
A total of 5500 fire safety compliance inspections were carried out by the City, with 72 warnings and 112 work orders issued for minor non-compliance.
City ranger and emergency services manager Tim Wall said the increase was fuelled by a notable rise in non-compliant properties in urban areas.
However, he said it was “pleasing” to note the large number of compliant properties in areas of high fire risk, including rural residential areas in and around Yallingup.
“We all have a responsibility to reduce bushfire risk – whether we live in built-up or rural areas, ” he said.
“Any parcel of land, regardless of its size or location can become a fire risk if the fuel load is too high.”
Bushfire Ready Group facilitator Paul Knight said the higher level of compliance in rural residential areas was a good sign the education process was working.
He said people in rural areas were more likely to be better educated in terms of bushfire mitigation strategies, as opposed to residents in urban areas.
Mr Wall agreed more education was needed for landowners in urban areas.
Busselton Police have ceased investigations into Monday’s fire as they believed the cause was not suspicious.
However, the City’s chief bushfire control office Allan Guthrie said there were only two ways the fire could have started.
“Either someone lit the fire, or it was caused by a cigarette. There was no other reason for it to light up, there were no tractors, no angle grinders, no machinery being operated in the area, ” he said.
A second fire on Tuesday morning at Oats Farm burnt through 400 large bales of hay and caused $36,000 damage.Mr Guthrie said the fire was believed to have been caused by an angle grinder and he appealed to residents to remain vigilant for the rest of the season.
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