Be smart about burns as open burning season begins

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Shannon SmithThe West Australian
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A house in Napier destroyed in the May 2018 bushfires.Picture: Laurie Benson
Camera IconA house in Napier destroyed in the May 2018 bushfires.Picture: Laurie Benson Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

City of Albany emergency services manager Brendan Gordon has issued a reminder about the risks of burnoffs as the city enters open burning season.

Since last Friday, residents have been able to light fires on their properties without obtaining permits.

Mr Gordon said people needed to be smart about their burns.

Reflecting on the catastrophic bushfires that tore through the region in May 2018, he said fires could still easily get out of hand at this time of year.

“It was only a short time ago that we experienced a fire emergency situation that shook the whole city leaving evident physical and emotional damage to many residents,” he said.

“Coming into open burning season we should remember the impact and destruction fire can have and to take the necessary precautions to avoid another catastrophe.

“The recent rainfall has only had an impact along the coast leaving dry conditions further inland, meaning residents need to monitor the weather conditions when they want to burn and make sure their fire is completely extinguished before walking away from the site.”

During the recent restricted burning period, City of Albany bushfire brigades attended about 20 fires.

The Albany May 2018 bushfires.
Camera IconThe Albany May 2018 bushfires. Credit: Brad Smith

The decision to open the burning season is made by the City and local volunteer bushfire brigades.

They analyse historic data, current and forecast weather conditions, recent fire activity in the region and local brigade capacity before making the call.

Mr Gordon said residents needed to be aware of weather conditions before they lit up.

“Residents need to plan for the safest time to conduct a burn, check their local weather conditions for the day of the burn and monitor the forecast for the days following to ensure that no strong winds will come through and restart the fire,” he said.

“Generally a high pressure weather system is more stable and better conditions for burning and if you need some advice, our brigades are happy to assist if you.

“Check with your local government about the current fire burning restriction in place and requirements you are responsible for before you light any fire on your property.

“Late autumn and winter is generally the safest time for resident to clean up their blocks and conduct burns safely with increased planning and preparation beforehand resulting in a safer burn.”

He encouraged people to register their fires via the Communication Centre on 9395 9209, so the burns can be recorded on the Emergency WA website.

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