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