Authorities remain on high alert as prohibited burning extended for second time in Margaret River

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
The prohibited burning period in the South West has been extended again.
Camera IconThe prohibited burning period in the South West has been extended again. Credit: Augusta-Margaret River Times

Worryingly low levels of rainfall and continued warm weather have forced authorities to extend the prohibited burning period yet again.

No open-air fires are permitted at all, with the prohibited burning period to be reconsidered before it expires on April 16.

It is the second extension announced by the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River since the end of summer as chronically low rainfall continues to leave the region’s bush tinder-dry.

The move comes amid heightened fears of a potential disaster, ironically after the region experienced its safest peak season in recent years.

Some of those safety concerns have been spurred by big visitor numbers and were highlighted by reports of campers lighting a bonfire at Joey’s Nose at Kilcarnup on March 26.

However, an investigation by Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions rangers found the social media post that spurred dozens of comments was “unsubstantiated”.

“DBCA can confirm allegations of an illegal bonfire at Kilcarnup carpark, Joey’s Nose, were investigated and found to be untrue and unsubstantiated,” a spokesperson said.

Shire community emergency services manager Adam Jasper urged all visitors and residents to remain respectful of the extended fire restrictions.

“We haven’t had any rain for a long time and the bush surrounding the shire is incredibly dry,” he said.

“This means in the right conditions, a fire could quickly get out of control.

“To keep everyone safe, we need the community to continue to do the right thing.

“Bushfires can start suddenly and without warning.

“Having a bushfire plan should be part of your ongoing preparation, just like maintaining your fire break, trimming branches or cleaning your gutters.”

A DBCA spokesperson said parks and wildlife rangers were continuing their patrols.

“Visitors to national parks and conservation reserves are reminded to comply with any signage that’s in place, dispose of rubbish appropriately and keep to established roads and tracks,” they said.

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