Lo­cal ex­perts un­der­utilised in bush­fire mit­i­ga­tion

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News -

Coun­cil­lor Peter Lane says the State Gov­ern­ment has to se­ri­ously con­sider the un­der-use of lo­cal ex­per­tise when fight­ing se­ri­ous bush­fires.

He has sig­nalled a pos­si­ble coun­cil mo­tion of writ­ing to the State Gov­ern­ment stress­ing lo­cal knowl­edge as a cru­cial fac­tor in fu­ture fire­fight­ing ef­forts.

The dis­cus­sion at last week’s Shire of Au­gusta-Mar­garet River coun­cil meet­ing arose from feed­back about La­bor’s bush­fire mit­i­ga­tion sum­mit ear­lier this year, which un­der­whelmed coun­cil chiefs.

Cr Lane re­counted his ex­pe­ri­ence of the 2011 Mar­garet River bush­fires dur­ing which the for­mer Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Con­ser­va­tion burn-off es­caped con­trol and de­stroyed more than 40 prop­er­ties.

Cr Lane said the fire­fight­ing re­sponse didn’t re­flect an un­der­stand­ing of lo­cal fac­tors such as wind and ge­og­ra­phy.

“None of that came up in that dis­cus­sion in the bush­fire mit­i­ga­tion process,” he said.

Deputy Shire pres­i­dent Kylie Ken­naugh added that she was never asked to evac­u­ate her home, de­spite be­ing 300m from where one of the fires started.

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