Wind turns burn pile into blaze

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Front Page - Warren Hately

A bush­fire in For­est Grove last Fri­day af­ter­noon was a near­repeat of a pre­vi­ous in­ci­dent, with vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers called to an out-of-con­trol burn on pri­vate prop­erty.

Witch­cliffe Vol­un­teer Bush­fire Bri­gade was first on the scene, sup­ported by crews in­clud­ing Cowaramup, Grace­town, Kar­ri­dale, Ku­dardup, and Rosa Brook, as well as paid fire­fight­ing per­son­nel. The in­ci­dent was a timely re­minder for prop­erty own­ers to com­ply with bush­fire reg­u­la­tions, ac­cord­ing to Shire of Au­gusta-Mar­garet River chief bush­fire con­trol of­fi­cer David Hol­land.

With the re­stricted bush­fire sea­son now in ef­fect, any burnoffs were for­bid­den, he said.

The blaze started near the in­ter­sec­tion of Caves and Sebbes roads in For­est Grove at about 1pm on Fri­day.

“The landowner — who had only re­cently pur­chased the prop­erty — had been un­der­tak­ing fuel re­duc­tion work to re­move ex­ces­sive veg­e­ta­tion close to the build­ing,” Mr Hol­land said.

“He had cre­ated a burn pile and had been mon­i­tor­ing it for sev­eral days and had thought it was ex­tin­guished.

“How­ever, it ap­pears that the windy con­di­tions on Fri­day picked up an em­ber from the pile and car­ried it to nearby bush, which sub­se­quently caught fire.” Vol­un­teers fought the blaze, bring­ing it un­der con­trol about 2am on Satur­day.

Mr Hol­land said dur­ing the non-re­stricted sea­son, burn piles must be watched closely.

“Even though they may look ex­tin­guished, (they) can con­tinue to smoul­der un­de­tected for sev­eral weeks and po­ten­tially re-ig­nite,” he said.

For more in­for­ma­tion on burn­ing off, visit amr­shire.wa. gov.au.

Pic­ture: Dirk Hos

Vol­un­teers worked into the early hours of the morn­ing last Satur­day to con­trol an es­caped pri­vate burn in For­est Grove.

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