Residents air fire-alert concerns

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser
The view of the Torndirrup bushfire.
Camera IconThe view of the Torndirrup bushfire. Credit: Brad Smith

Little Grove residents threatened by last month’s Torndirrup bushfire have called for better communication from authorities to warn of the threat of bushfires.

A public meeting in Little Grove on Monday night to review the Torndirrup bushfire, which began from an escaped prescribed burn in late May, was attended by more than 50 residents.

Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions south coast regional manager Greg Mair told the crowd while the blaze occurred from an escaped burn, the first stage of the burn 12 months earlier gave crews more options to create a buffer before the storm front came on Thursday, May 24.

He said the sight from across the harbour of the back burning on the Wednesday night was a “safe scenario” despite the “dramatic” photo and there was no immediate risk to the community because the fire was at an advice level.

Mr Mair said the pride of his staff was hurt when prescribed burns escaped but they were designed for community protection.

He said an inquiry by the Office of Bushfire Risk Management was being undertaken, as well as an internal review by DBCA.

During question time some residents said they were unaware of where the fire was and if it was threatening their homes, questioning the lack of frequency of online updates by the Depart- ment of Fire and Emergency Services.

DFES Great Southern acting Superintendent Brett Finlay said updates were provided regularly or when the fire behaviour or warning level of the bushfire changed.

While the Torndirrup fire was at advice level, residents in Goode Beach were faced with an emergency level and were forced to evacuate.

City of Albany community emergency services manager Brendan Gordon said the city was committed to developing a more resilient community because of the risk of living in the Torndirrup peninsula.

“Your preparation begins now,” he said. “If you have a fire plan written down, you can act on your plan pretty quickly.”

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