Vol­lies carry the load

Joondalup Weekender - - Front Page - Lucy Jarvis

VOL­UN­TEER fire­fight­ers are be­ing vig­i­lant ahead of this bushfire sea­son af­ter a wet win­ter that has in­creased the fuel load.

Paul Postma has been Wan­neroo’s chief bush fire con­trol of­fi­cer since April 2017 and over­sees four lo­cal brigades – Wan­neroo Cen­tral, Quinns Rocks, Two Rocks and Wan­neroo Sup­port – which col­lec­tively have about 220 vol­un­teers.

Last bushfire sea­son, Wan­neroo’s vol­un­teer brigades at­tended 419 in­ci­dents, as well as re­spond­ing to in­ci­dents in the City of Swan, shires of Chit­ter­ing and Gin­gin, across the district and in Al­bany.

Mr Postma said since July they had at­tended about 50 in­ci­dents.

THE pro­hib­ited burn­ing pe­riod in the City of Wan­neroo starts this Satur­day, De­cem­ber 1, to re­duce the risk of bush­fires.

Chief bush fire con­trol of­fi­cer Paul Postma said that meant all open flame burn­ing was pro­hib­ited, in­clud­ing burn­ing gar­den refuse, cook­ing fires and beach bar­be­cues or bon­fires.

He said bush­fires could start in sev­eral ways, in­clud­ing when stolen ve­hi­cles were dumped and set alight, car crashes and dis­carded lit cig­a­rette butts.

Mr Postma said although it felt like a wet win­ter, it had been only av­er­age com­pared to the past 30 years.

“It has given us ad­di­tional fuel loads on the ground,” he said.

“The bushfire sea­son com­ing has the po­ten­tial for a higher-than-av­er­age bushfire sea­son.

“All we ask peo­ple to do when they see a bushfire, or any fire, and there are no fire­fight­ers, is call 000 and re­port it.”

If there is a bushfire in the area, DFES pro­vides up­dates at www.emer­gency. wa.gov.au and ABC ra­dio does key emer­gency broad­casts.

To pre­pare for this bushfire sea­son, Mr Postma said vol­un­teer bushfire brigades had been do­ing pre­scribed burns on coun­cil re­serves and pri­vate prop­er­ties.

“DFES have been do­ing mit­i­ga­tion works on Crown land,” he said.

Mr Postma said the City is­sued fire­break no­tices telling landown­ers the min­i­mum re­quire­ments for fire­breaks and build­ing pro­tec­tion zones.

The DFES web­site in­cludes ma­te­rial to help peo­ple pre­pare for a fire, in­clud­ing when they would leave or how they would de­fend their prop­erty.

d488907 Pic­ture: Martin Ken­nealey

Wan­neroo Cen­tral bush fire brigade fire­fight­ers Dani Van­der­meulen, Chris Smith, Renny Gosatti and chief Paul Postma.

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