Authorities urge against complacency as bushfire season looms for Augusta, Margaret River and Busselton

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
WA Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm.
Camera IconWA Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

A confirmed El Nino weather system north of Australia has authorities flagging this year’s bushfire season as a high-risk scenario, with preparations by Capes households urged.

While the east coast and WA’s north were flagged as higher risk, authorities said all households should be preparing for bushfire season regardless of location.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm said firefighters were gearing up for “dangerous fire weather to arrive early”.

Those sentiments were echoed by local volunteers concerned low levels of recent rainfall could create tinder-dry bush and make for a hectic fire season.

Mr Klemm encouraged residents to use the cooler weather to prepare homes and reduce fuel loads.

“Fire is part of the landscape in WA and when managed carefully it can help protect the environment, lives and homes from the threat of intense, uncontrollable and destructive fires,” he said.

“One of the great things about WA is the ability to live alongside nature.

“But for those people who are in bushfire-prone areas, it’s critical that they take action over the next few months to prepare their properties, particularly with spring looking to be warmer and drier than usual.

Shire of Augusta-Margaret River community emergency services manager Adam Jasper said it was important residents took their responsibilities seriously in the lead-up to summer.

“We urge all residents living in the Shire to have a bushfire plan in place and to talk it through with family and household members ahead of the fire season,” he said.

“Like every year ahead of bushfire season, residents are urged to begin preparing their properties, review their bushfire plan, and talk to their families and neighbours about their plan.

“While last season was a relatively quiet season in terms of number and impact of fires, each new season is an unknown in what we will get.”

Mr Jasper also urged residents to keep up to date with bushfire information on radio and the Emergency WA website.

City of Busselton community emergency services manager Matt du Plessis repeated the call and warned residents against complacency.

“Last year was a comparatively milder bushfire season for WA, so it’s important that we don’t become complacent in preparing for the summer ahead,” he said.

“The City urges property owners and occupiers to prepare now.”

Mr du Plessis pointed to online resources as well as compliance with the City’s Firebreak and Fuel Hazard Reduction Notice 2023-24.

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