Bushfire season warning - be prepared

David CharlesworthHarvey-Waroona Reporter

Bushfire control officers in Harvey and Waroona are urging residents to start preparing their properties now for the bushfire season, with a high risk season predicted for the South West.

The 2017 Southern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook, released by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Community Resource Centre last week, warned the South West to brace for an above normal fire potential.

According to the report dry autumn weather conditions and high fuel loads have increased the bushfire risk for the southern parts of the Swan Coastal Plain.

Harvey chief bushfire control officer Phil Penny said preparedness would be key to the severity of the season.

“If people get themselves prepared, it’s going to save them a lot of grief afterwards,” Mr Penny said.

“Now is the right time for people to start clearing their blocks.”

Mr Penny said the Harvey Shire Council was on schedule for prescribed burns and it was down to everybody to make preparations now.

“This year will see our brigades out and doing a lot more burns than they have done in previous years,” he said.

“It’s right down to the householders, everybody’s got to do their bit.”

Mr Penny said bushfire preparedness meetings had already been held by some communities including one in Uduc on September 2.

Uduc residents began planning for the upcoming season, with families making their bushfire plans and discussing them with neighbours.

Two new communication networks were also set up for families in north Uduc, to quickly spread the word in case of bushfire, via mobile text alerts, as well as to contact emergency services.

“They’ve got a pretty active group there which is great, they’re organised,” he said.

Waroona chief bushfire control officer John Twaddle said it was still too early to predict what type of season the shire would have but vegetation was still wet from the late winter rains.

“At this stage the bush is still reasonably damp,” he said.

“It will be a while before that dries, we haven’t had that the last couple years.”

While no community bushfire readiness meetings had been held in Waroona yet, Mr Twaddle echoed that residents should start preparing now for the season.

“Now is the time they need to start doing their preparation work,” he said.

“Don’t leave it to the middle of December to start working.”

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