Safety alert on burn season

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
A bushfire in Torndirrup National Park last May.
Camera IconA bushfire in Torndirrup National Park last May. Credit: Brad Smith

As unrestricted burning periods open around the Albany region, residents are being reminded to exercise caution and put safety first after the disastrous fires of last May.

The North East sector season opened on April 30, while permits are still required in the South West sector until May 14.

It was in this unrestricted burning period last May that firefighting resources were pushed to the limit as 130 firefighters fought more than 50 fires across the district.

Many of those bushfires started as private burns.

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City of Albany emergency management team leader Garry Turner said he wanted to remind people the soil dryness index was still very high, meaning things would burn easily.

“The moisture hasn’t penetrated into the ground and the bush will burn very well,” he said.

“We normally finish the permits on April 30, but we have extended it out to May 14.

“We — the COA and local firefighters — will assess that again closer to the date.

“It may be extended again further if we haven’t had any rain.”

Mr Turner said there was never a “safe” time to burn.

“It is never safe unless it is bucketing down with rain and a fire won’t escape,” he said.

“I think that people are very conscious of the fires that we did have in May. We get a lot of people ring up asking when the season opens and talking about the May fires.”

Those who wish to burn are advised to check the Bureau of Meteorology forecast and contact the City of Albany or their local fire chief officer for advice.

Mt Barker Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service captain Jason Stasev has posted a warning to the brigade’s Facebook page with the Shire of Plantagenet season now open.

He said the volunteers wanted to get the message out there they did not want another disaster.

“Just because you can burn, doesn’t mean you should,” he said.

“If you have a big burn, they can create their own weather.

“It sucks in the winds and they can change easily.

“I recommend people call DFES and register their burn even though we don’t need permits, because then it goes on the Emergency WA website so that it doesn’t cause panic.”

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