Res­i­dents air fire-alert con­cerns

Albany Advertiser - - NEWS - Tim Ed­munds

Lit­tle Grove res­i­dents threat­ened by last month’s Torndirrup bush­fire have called for bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion from author­i­ties to warn of the threat of bush­fires.

A pub­lic meet­ing in Lit­tle Grove on Mon­day night to re­view the Torndirrup bush­fire, which be­gan from an es­caped pre­scribed burn in late May, was at­tended by more than 50 res­i­dents.

Depart­ment of Bio­di­ver­sity, Con­ser­va­tion and At­trac­tions south coast re­gional man­ager Greg Mair told the crowd while the blaze oc­curred from an es­caped burn, the first stage of the burn 12 months ear­lier gave crews more op­tions to cre­ate a buf­fer be­fore the storm front came on Thurs­day, May 24.

He said the sight from across the har­bour of the back burn­ing on the Wed­nes­day night was a “safe sce­nario” de­spite the “dra­matic” photo and there was no im­me­di­ate risk to the com­mu­nity be­cause the fire was at an ad­vice level.

Mr Mair said the pride of his staff was hurt when pre­scribed burns es­caped but they were de­signed for com­mu­nity pro­tec­tion.

He said an in­quiry by the Of­fice of Bush­fire Risk Man­age­ment was be­ing un­der­taken, as well as an in­ter­nal re­view by DBCA.

Dur­ing ques­tion time some res­i­dents said they were un­aware of where the fire was and if it was threat­en­ing their homes, ques­tion­ing the lack of fre­quency of on­line up­dates by the Depart­ment of Fire and Emer­gency Services.

DFES Great South­ern act­ing Su­per­in­ten­dent Brett Fin­lay said up­dates were pro­vided reg­u­larly or when the fire be­hav­iour or warn­ing level of the bush­fire changed.

While the Torndirrup fire was at ad­vice level, res­i­dents in Goode Beach were faced with an emer­gency level and were forced to evac­u­ate.

City of Albany com­mu­nity emer­gency services man­ager Bren­dan Gor­don said the city was com­mit­ted to de­vel­op­ing a more re­silient com­mu­nity be­cause of the risk of liv­ing in the Torndirrup penin­sula.

“Your prepa­ra­tion be­gins now,” he said. “If you have a fire plan writ­ten down, you can act on your plan pretty quickly.”

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