Pre­pare and stay bush­fire aware

Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - - Life - Tari Jef­fers

THE South West has an above av­er­age bush­fire po­ten­tial for the com­ing sea­son, ac­cord­ing to the South­ern Aus­tralia Sea­sonal Bush­fire Out­look 2017.

Late rain­fall in win­ter has not been enough to suf­fi­ciently com­pen­sate for the rel­a­tively dry au­tumn and the rain, mixed with bouts of sun­shine, can in­crease fuel loads, which in­creases the risk of a bush­fire.

The re­port noted the South West had ex­pe­ri­enced 11 con­sec­u­tive cool sea­sons, from April to Oc­to­ber, with be­low av­er­age rain­fall.

“Very long-term de­fi­cien­cies like these are not matched in the his­tor­i­cal record and have been as­so­ci­ated with a marked in­crease in fire weather sever­ity in the past decade,” the re­port stated.

The re­port added that on top of per­sis­tent low soil mois­ture, the South West recorded its dri­est au­tumn in five years, which re­sulted in wa­ter stress in for­est veg­e­ta­tion, with dead sur­face lit­ter and woody ma­te­ri­als con­tin­u­ing to dry out.

Emer­gency ser­vices and lo­cal gov­ern­ments alike are urg­ing the re­gion’s res­i­dents to pre­pare for the up­com­ing bush­fire sea­son.

Fire­breaks need to be ready by Novem­ber 15 in the Shire of Bridgetown-Green­bushes, De­cem­ber 11 in Man­jimup, Pem­ber­ton and Quin­ninup and De­cem­ber 18 in North­cliffe and Walpole. The De­part­ment of Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices web­site has nu­mer­ous check lists, guides and plans of how to pre­pare and act for bush­fires.

The of­fi­cial DFES plan for bush­fires is Pre­pare. Act. Sur­vive.

Pre­pare

Pre­pare a plan.

Have a back-up plan. Home prepa­ra­tions. Re­duce fu­els around the home. Wa­ter sup­ply and pumps. Pre­pare pets and live­stock.

Act

Know your trig­ger.

Know what the fire dan­ger rat­ing means. What is your trig­ger to leave? What is your trig­ger when plan­ning to stay or ac­tively de­fend? Stay alert when a fire starts. Total fire bans and fire re­stric­tions.

Sur­vive

Dur­ing a fire.

Shel­ter­ing in a bush­fire. Leav­ing for a safer place. Ac­tively de­fend­ing your home. If your plan fails. Re­turn­ing home.

The DFES web­site, www.dfes.wa.gov.au, has a longer and more de­tailed list of what is needed at ev­ery stage of a bush­fire and has up-to-date in­for­ma­tion about bush­fires, in­clud­ing a down­load­able ver­sion of bush­fire sur­vival plans, guides and check­lists for sur­vival kits

Pic­ture: Tari Jef­fers

The re­sult of a bush­fire roar­ing through a na­tional park filled with loose, dry leaf lit­ter.

A check­list as an ex­am­ple on how to pre­pare a re­gional prop­erty for the bush­fire sea­son.

The fire dan­ger rat­ings.

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