The West

Be prepared for bushfire season
Be prepared for bushfire season

The danger of bushfires this season has FESA urging South West residents to take an interest in reducing the risk of bushfires around their homes.

FESA Acting Supt Chris Widmer said if there was a bushfire this season, there was every chance of losing houses and lives because people had become complacent about the danger.

He said the 2011 Margaret River bushfires were a perfect example of people seeing devastation and thinking it could not happen to them.

“Every year we watch the television about these poor people affected by bushfires and losing their homes and lives, there’s no connection between us and them,’’ he said.

“We see it as a computer game, we can’t see that one of these days the cameras will be pointed this way and it will be our turn.

“What I’d ask people to do, if the cameras are pointed the other way and it’s our turn, at least you can say you did everything you could to save your family and house.’’

Any house within 1km of bushland is at risk in a bushfire.

“Essentially if you remove areas of dry, fine flammable material around the property — we call it fuel — you can limit the likelihood of any embers landing in it and lighting fires,’’ Mr Widmer said.

People are encouraged to clean out gutters, rake leaves and mow lawns to create what FESA calls a “circle of defensible space”.

“It’s an uneven tennis game, the firefighting fraternity are doing so much work against the expectations which are increasing every year and it’s not being matched by the community.’’

Mr Widmer said despite the fact firefighting services did everything they could to save homes, they had to focus on the best way of controlling a fire.

“The trick is, if there is a significant fire danger day, there is nothing firefighters can do but prepare for its arrival at a place that is defendable,’’ he said.

“If there happens to be properties in the way, unfortunately they Chris Widmer may become collateral damage.’’

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