Fire station chief slams ‘apathy’

Fire station chief slams ‘apathy’

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Roleystone Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade chief Noel Plowman said many property owners still had high fuel loads on their properties. Photograph — Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne.

Roleystone Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade chief Noel Plowman has blasted property-owner apathy in the lead up to bushfire season warning a repeat of the 2011 Kelmscott Roleystone fires was possible.

Mr Plowman said in Roleystone especially, many properties had not cleared fuel loads or done their fire breaks which could have devastating consequences if a fire were to start in the area over summer.

“The rains have given us a lot more fuel and it’s made the grass keep on growing so we’ll have more fuel on the ground,” he said.

“Apathy is ripe at the moment.

“A lot of the areas, especially where the fire went through in Roleystone and Kelmscott apathy is starting to set in.

“People aren’t doing the clean up any more, it’s been over five years and people are starting to say well it’s not going to happen to me again.

“Really I don’t know how we can do it but people need a kick up the backside to get out and get their yards cleaned up.”

Mr Plowman said the state of some properties were similar to February 2011 when the Kelmscott Roleystone fires tore through and destroyed 72 homes and damaged another 32.

“We’ve got areas that are ready to go especially along some parts of the Canning River in the valley,” he said.

“All ready to go just as it was when the Kelmscott Roleystone fire started.

“All it needs is the right conditions and there’ll be no stopping it.”

Mr Plowman said people needed to put in some work to get their properties safe.

“Start to think about the circle of safety around the house, low fuel areas, building protection zones and everything else,” he said.

“If you keep your property clean it’s something you only have to do a day a month.”

Until November 30 all property owners with an area more than 1200-square metres require a permit to burn should they wish to undertake a hazard reduction burn on their property.

City of Armadale mayor Henry Zelones said burning was prohibited from December 1 until March 31 so residents needed to act now.

“Anyone who has not prepared their property and is not bushfire ready puts the whole street at risk,” he said.

“Preparing your home and property for bush fires can make a world of difference for firefighters, who may have to prioritise between which houses are saveable and which are not.”

Permits can be obtained from ranger services at Armadale’s administration centre on Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 3pm and 4pm.

Call ranger services on 9394 5000 during normal office hours to make alternative arrangements.

The city also encourages residents to get a bush fire ready brochure and information booklets from the city’s administration building or by visiting dfes.wa.gov.au.