Burn threat­ens Tor­bay Hall

Albany Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Tim Ed­munds

Lim­ited time and re­sources had pre­vented a fuel re­duc­tion burn be­ing un­der­taken for two years in a sec­tion of re­serve in Tor­bay that turned from a con­trolled burn to out-of-con­trol bush­fire last week.

The blaze came within me­tres of homes and threat­ened his­toric Tor­bay Hall last Thurs­day.

The bush­fire was re­ported at 2pm af­ter es­cap­ing from the south­ern side of Lower Den­mark Road at the in­ter­sec­tion of Hun­wick South Road, re­sult­ing in a watch and act alert for res­i­dents in the area in the af­ter­noon.

Up to 15 City of Al­bany and Shire of Den­mark vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers brought the blaze, which burnt 100ha, un­der con­trol Thurs­day evening, re­sult­ing in the warn­ing be­ing down­graded to an ad­vice level.

City of Al­bany chief bush­fire con­trol of­fi­cer Dar­ren Prior said the sec­tion of bush­land had been ear­marked for two years and he was not sur­prised the con­trolled burn es­caped.

“Fire is un­pre­dictable and some­times it does stuff that you don’t want it to do,” he said. “It’s the na­ture of the beast.” Mr Prior said a mix­ture of lim­ited re­sources and the con­di­tions not be­ing right had pre­vented the bush from be­ing burnt ear­lier.

He said com­plaints about pre­scribed burn­ing and fuel loads came from both sides of the spec­trum.

“You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t,” he said.

“We are do­ing the best we can and we can only keep do­ing that.

“We are the ones tak­ing the risk to make ev­ery­one safe.”

Tor­bay res­i­dent David Read took the mea­sure of wa­ter­ing down the roof of the home across the road from the bush­fire.

He said the bush­fire was the first he and wife Vicki had ex­pe­ri­enced in 14 years of liv­ing at the home down from the Tor­bay Hall and were pre­pared.

Pic­ture: Tim Ed­munds

Tor­bay res­i­dent David Read sur­veys the burnt bush less than 50m from his home.

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