Some South West towns are "undefendable" from bushfire and residents cannot rely entirely on firefighters to save them, the region's fire chief said yesterday.
Fire and Emergency Services superintendent John Tillman said residents needed to be aware of risks they faced and prepare now for potential danger.
Enclaves such as Karri Lakes near Quinninup, Deanmill near Manjimup, Tingleview Estate near Walpole and outlying areas of Northcliffe were indentified by Mr Tillman as of grave concern.
Eagle Bay, near Dunsborough, and Injinup, would also be difficult to defend, he said.
Asked if there were some areas that were undefendable, Mr Tillman said "absolutely".
"I'm sticking my neck out but we do not have paid firefighters down here, we're reliant on volunteers, and trying to do the best they can and the reality is (some areas) are probably not defendable," he said.
"The Keelty report said it's about shared responsibility . . . you can't guarantee that an appliance is going to be able to get to every property.
"It's not the towns but the outlying areas that concern us."
Mr Tillman said areas such as Karri Lakes were of concern because of past planning decisions.
"(Karri Lakes) is a classic case of bad planning in terms of fire provisions, single roads in, dead-end roads, houses built in a forest, not very good planning in terms of building planning provisions and only one volunteer bushfire brigade," he said.
Mr Tillman said though the State Government had improved firefighting resources, ultimately "you can only defend houses if they are prepared".
Karri Lakes residents said they were well aware of the risk of living in the area.
John and Yvonne Craft, who moved to their home next to State forest more than seven years ago, said they were careful to ensure their property was clean and prepared, but would still evacuate in case of fire.
Mr Craft said he wanted the Department of Environment and Conservation to implement bigger fire breaks in State forest.
More action was also needed against absent landowners who neglected their blocks, he said.
Fellow resident Liz Bursey said the community worked hard to ensure it was as prepared as possible for fire.
Emergency Services Minister Troy Buswell said this week WA was facing a tough fire season and acknowledged prescribed burning was behind schedule.