Per­mit for fire zone

Avon Valley Gazette - - OPINION -

PEO­PLE ur­gently need­ing to re­turn to an area im­pacted by bush­fire will have the op­tion to ap­ply for a re­stricted ac­cess per­mit.

The ini­tia­tive - tried at the Park­erville bush­fire in Jan­uary 2014 - was un­der­taken by De­part­ment of Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices ( DFES) and the in­ter- agency Traf­fic Man­age­ment Work­ing Group to al­low res­i­dents, busi­ness own­ers and util­ity com­pa­nies to ap­ply for ur­gent ac­cess to man­age live­stock or check on in­fra­struc­ture.

DFES deputy Com­mis­sioner Lloyd Bai­ley said the per­mit sys­tem pro­vided more flex­i­bil­ity while en­sur­ing com­mu­nity safety.

“To keep the com­mu­nity safe dur­ing bush­fires, roads are of­ten closed un­til the area is deemed safe; how­ever, we un­der­stand that there are some cir­cum­stances that re­quire peo­ple to get in and out of these re­stricted ar­eas,” deputy Com­mis­sioner Bai­ley said.

“Re­stricted ac­cess per­mits may be granted for a num­ber of rea­sons, in­clud­ing al­low­ing peo­ple to ac­ti­vate their emer­gency plan, trans­port var­i­ous com­modi­ties such as milk, wa­ter, stock feed and store sup­plies and tend to live­stock.”

Re­stricted ac­cess per­mits would in­clude spe­cific con­di­tions and de­tails of the ad­dress and time to re- en­ter the fire site.

Deputy Com­mis­sioner Bai­ley said a per­mit would be avail­able only when the risk had re­duced sig­nif­i­cantly.

“Peo­ple must re­mem­ber that ar­eas im­pacted by a ma­jor bush­fire can pre­sent many haz­ards in­clud­ing fallen trees block­ing roads, toxic or haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als, en­er­gised power lines, fire or smoke and stray an­i­mals,” he said.

“Our top pri­or­ity dur­ing a bush­fire is keep­ing the com­mu­nity safe, and we urge peo­ple to re­main vig­i­lant of their sur­round­ings while in the re­stricted area and keep up- to date with the bush­fire warn­ings.”

Dis­tri­bu­tion of the per­mits would be via a unit set up in the com­mu­nity im­pacted by the emer­gency.

The per­mit, which may ei­ther be a sticker placed on a ve­hi­cle’s wind­screen or a pa­per per­mit, would be viewed at ve­hi­cle con­trol points along with a cur­rent iden­tity doc­u­ment.

For more in­for­ma­tion about re­stricted ac­cess per­mits, visit www. dfes. wa. gov. au/ per­mits.

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