Shire of Denmark awarded lion’s share of WA Government’s $6m fire fund

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Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
Denmark Shire Council Administration Centre.
Camera IconDenmark Shire Council Administration Centre. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Reducing fuel loads along critical evacuation routes, strengthening fire breaks and engaging with Noongar elders to carry out traditional burning practices will be targeted across the Shire of Denmark with $500,000 in State Government bushfire mitigation funding.

The Shire of Denmark is among 21 local governments set to share in more than $6 million to undertake 612 fire mitigation activities across WA as part of the State Government’s Mitigation Activity Fund grants program.

Denmark secured the largest grant under the first round of the program last week, to undertake 37 treatments to reduce fuel loads and carry out bushfire mitigation activities across at risk crown land.

Shire of Denmark acting chief executive David Schober said the Shire had recently completed a bushfire risk assessment which found 84 per cent of Shire assets, including residential areas, were at “high or above risk of bushfire”.

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“The Shire of Denmark has 70 per cent remnant vegetation; in comparison to other local governments this is a large amount for a Shire as populated as ours,” he said.

“Denmark is renowned for its natural beauty as such a large number of our residents live bordering our reserves or surrounded by bush which puts them at high risk in the event of a bushfire.”

Mr Schober said the funding will be used to reduce fuel loading on road reserves that may be used as key evacuation routes in a bushfire.

The Shire’s strategic fire break network will also be strengthened, to improve the response capability and safety of bushfire volunteers to access high risk residential areas.

Mr Schober said the Shire would also use the funding to engage with Noongar elders to carry out “traditional fire practice” on nominated reserves within the Shire.

The Denmark Fire Study Group is pushing for the State Government to review its principle risk mitigation strategy of prescribed burning carried out by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions across WA.

The group is set to table a petition in WA Parliament next month backed by Greens MLC Diane Evers.

Mr Schober said the Shire encouraged discussions on the methods in which the local environment is managed.

However, he said prescribed burning within the Shire of Denmark was currently “largely carried out” by the DBCA.

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