Red­mond res­i­dent’s bush­fire alert

Albany Advertiser - - NEWS - Saskia Adysti

A Red­mond res­i­dent is de­mand­ing ac­tion be taken on un­man­aged bush­land next to a res­i­den­tial area.

Peter Moss, whose half-acre prop­erty is lo­cated right next to the bush­land, said the area had not been prop­erly man­aged by the City of Al­bany and the De­part­ment of Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices in five years.

He claims the bush­land is filled with pa­per­bark trees, weeds and bracken — easy fuel for a bush­fire.

“It’s like sit­ting on a tin­der box out there,” he said.

“The bush land is thicker now be­cause of the last two win­ters we’ve had.

“Con­sid­er­ing there’s no fire breaks be­tween the crown land and us — if that land goes, we have no hope at all.”

Red­mond, lo­cated 10km west of the city of Al­bany, was heav­ily af­fected dur­ing the May bush­fire which burned through 17,000ha, fanned by winds gust­ing to 100km/h.

Dur­ing the in­ci­dent, Mr Moss said he was packed and ready to go as the fire tore through his neigh­bour­hood.

“They were re­ally wor­ried that this bush­land is go­ing to go as well,” he said.

De­spite this close en­counter, Mr Moss said noth­ing had been done since.

A DFES spokes­woman said there was no re­cent pre­scribed burn­ing con­ducted in the bush­land as the area was clas­si­fied as low risk.

“This area is deemed low risk due to the low-ly­ing grass veg­e­ta­tion,” she said,

“Mit­i­ga­tion works on that Unal­lo­cated Crown Land will be car­ried out in early 2019 and in­clude us­ing slash­ing to clear grass and clear­ing el­e­vat­ing fuel loads un­der nearby trees.”

Mr Moss also re­ceived a re­ply from Al­bany man­ager of city re­serves Jac­qui Free­man in Oc­to­ber which said the City was not obliged to un­der­take any work in the bush­land.

“The City is not bound to un­der­take any works on crown land and that ul­ti­mately the risk of liv­ing in a ru­ral and bush­land lo­ca­tion car­ries an in­her­ent risk,” she said.

“Con­cern­ing fuel re­duc­tion, the City and the Red­mond brigade plan fuel re­duc­tion in a strate­gic and en­vi­ron­men­tally re­spon­si­ble man­ner, with one burn cur­rently planned to the west of town.”

Mr Moss said he hoped DFES and the City could im­ple­ment fire breaks to cre­ate a bar­rier be­tween the bush­land and the prop­er­ties in Red­mond.

But a DFES spokes­woman said ex­ist­ing fire ac­cess tracks would pro­vide enough buf­fer for the prop­er­ties.

“Sched­uled ma­chine works on this crown land com­bined with ex­ist­ing fire ac­cess tracks main­tained by the City of Al­bany will pro­vide a buf­fer of ap­prox­i­mately 40m be­tween the lo­cal govern­ment shire re­serve and the ma­jor­ity of prop­er­ties,” she said.

Mr Moss dis­agreed with the no­tion and said the fire tracks be­hind his house were not reg­u­larly main­tained, and was only cleaned up a week ago.

“I’m not wor­ried so much about the house — I’m just re­ally wor­ried about our lives.”

Mr Moss and his wife will con­tinue to fight for fire breaks to be im­ple­mented in the area.

Peter Moss at the stretch of un­man­aged bush­land be­hind his prop­erty.

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