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