Act now to save lives Jes­sica War­riner

Comment News (Armadale) - - Front Page -

THE bush­fire sea­son has of­fi­cially be­gun and lo­cal fire­fight­ers are urg­ing res­i­dents to start their sum­mer prepa­ra­tion now.

Deputy chief bush­fire con­trol of­fi­cer Matt Plow­man, of the Ro­ley­stone Vol­un­teer Fire Bri­gade, said most bri­gades were ready year-round but now was the time to fo­cus on haz­ard re­duc­tion.

“The burn­ing off process will go from now un­til the end of Novem­ber,” he said.

“Pro­hib­ited burn­ing time starts in De­cem­ber; if some­thing burns then, it’s not meant to burn.”

Mr Plow­man said last year was a qui­eter sea­son, es­pe­cially af­ter the Yar­loop and Wa­roona fires, but it was dif­fi­cult to pre­dict which way the com­ing sea­son would go.

“Fires don’t start them­selves; they’re sub­ject to storm ac­tiv­ity com­ing through, peo­ple cause wil­ful dam­age, it’s sub­ject to what hap­pens,” he said.

“We’ve had a pretty good win­ter, it’s been wet.

“But we say ev­ery year if it’s been a dry win­ter, it’s go­ing to be a bad fire sea­son; if it’s a wet win­ter,

it’s go­ing to be a bad fire sea­son be­cause there’s more fuel.”

The Ro­ley­stone res­i­dent has been in­volved with the bri­gade for 18 years, with his fa­ther in the bri­gade for as long as he can re­mem­ber.

“I find it re­ward­ing. I en­joy work­ing with the com­mu­nity, build­ing friend­ships within and out­side the bri­gade, all those kinds of things,” Mr Plow­man said.

“I en­joy the chal­lenges of it and the train­ing.

“The big­gest eye-opener to me was the Kelm­scott Ro­ley­stone fire.

“It wasn’t so much the fire be­hav­iour, it was ar­eas that burnt that I thought wouldn’t be too bad, like Buck­ing­ham Bridge. That crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture was lost and the ef­fect that had for the next cou­ple of months was full on.”

Res­i­dents through Ar­madale and Gos­nells should look at what they need to do to get fire sea­son ready, with peo­ple on ru­ral prop­er­ties urged to re­duce their fuel load ei­ther through burn­ing per­mits or green waste sites.

“Peo­ple should prep all year round, but now is when you should re­ally start get­ting ready,” Mr Plow­man said.

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son­mu­ni­ d474670

City of Ar­madale deputy chief bush­fire con­trol of­fi­cer Matt Plow­man.

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