South West residents urged to be fire-ready

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Ailish DelaneySouth Western Times
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Ahead of summer South West residents are reminded to be bushfire aware.
Camera IconAhead of summer South West residents are reminded to be bushfire aware. Credit: Supplied

Have an up-to-date fire plan. Ready your property. Leave early if unprepared.

Those are the three main pieces of advice Bunbury Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade captain Terri Kowal wants South West residents to remember this fire season.

Bunbury Volunteer Bushfire Brigade captain Terri Kowal.
Camera IconBunbury Volunteer Bushfire Brigade captain Terri Kowal. Credit: Shannon Verhagen Picture:

This week marks the first anniversary of the Yourdamung fire near Collie, which sparked a week-long battle to bring it under control, and next month marks five years since Yarloop was ravished by a devastating blaze.

An act of arson last week saw Yallingup lose 10ha of pristine bushland — a reminder fire safety is as important as ever.

Ms Kowal said the brigade had been called to a few fires already, including the October Boyanup bushfire, but she knew the season had more in store.

“The ground is very dry at the moment, there’s very little moisture in the soil, and on a reasonably warm day, things will take off easily,” she said.

“People tend to think if something’s green it’s not going to burn, but that’s not true.”

Ms Kowal said she wanted residents to remember that preparation was vital during fire season.

If they’re not prepared, they need to leave early — waiting to see what happens gets people killed.

“It only takes one hot ember to land in their gutter or somewhere they don’t notice that can cause a house fire.”

Ms Kowal said it was crucial families had a plan for what they would do in the case of a fire in their area.

“They need to sit down and have a good discussion about what happens, particularly if it’s going to be Christmas or school holidays and kids might be home on their own while parents are at work,” she said.

“If things like road closures are put in place and their kids are at home and parents can’t get back in, what will they do?”

Visit mybushfireplan.wa.gov.au to update fire plans and learn more.

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