Call to devise an early bushfire response plan

Callum HunterSouth Western Times

South West residents have been urged to devise their bushfire survival plan now, ahead of what is tipped to be a dangerous fire season.

The calls come after a report, released by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre, showed the region to have higher than normal fire potential due to rainfall deficiencies and warmer than average conditions forecast this October.

Acting DFES Superintendent South West Andrew Wright said bushfires could ignite anywhere at anytime.

“The last three seasons have been very mild and we’ve escaped catastrophic fires,” he said

“People can’t afford to be complacent and we have to take action to make sure you keep yourself and your loved ones safe.”

According to the report, the South West experienced its driest start to the year on record as well as its seventh-driest autumn on record which had led to soil moisture deficiencies and stress being placed on woody vegetation.

Both of these situations were tipped in the report to be further exacerbated by the predicted warmer than average October.

Acting Supt Wright said despite the dry start to summer and autumn, the South West was far from being in a drought like other States and regions but fire seasons were starting a little earlier.

“Now is the time to create the bushfire survival plans...it’s vital,” he said.

“No matter what the predicted risk is, you should now be preparing your homes and deciding if you plan to stay and defend or plan to leave.

“The plans include what will your triggers be to leave, if you do choose to leave, where are you going to go, what route you’ll take, what you’ll take with you and what you’ll do with your pets and livestock.”

Not only did the South West experience its driest start to the year and seventh-driest autumn on record, but average temperatures for the region were also above average between January and July.

Further afield, parts of the Swan Coastal Plain, Avon Wheatbelt, Warren, Esperance Plains, Mallee region and parts of the Nullabor all face a higher than normal fire potential.

Information and preparation tool-kits to help develop a bushfire survival plan are available on the DFES website.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails