Margaret River was this week named among three South West locations to trial Federal-funded bushfire demonstration sites. The project announced by Warren-Blackwood MLA Jane Kelsbie involved construction of visible examples of best-practice fire safety to help educate residents and reduce risks during peak bushfire season. Money from the Federal Government’s $1 billion Disaster-Ready Fund would power the “firewise” centres planned as educational spaces “to empower people and communities to create more sustainable gardens and firewise landscapes, and reduce risk to community infrastructure,” Ms Kelsbie said. “This is a terrific project and one that’s focused on community education and behaviour change,” she said. “It’s about giving people the information and strategies they need to better manage their homes, gardens and landscapes. “Empowering communities to take action and make change is the best form of preparedness.” The sites would provide information about fire-safety strategies, including fire-retardant plants, management of existing trees, fuel-load separation, and the management of fine fuel load, the MP said. The eight trial sites would be co-ordinated by Perth-based group The Forever Project. Forever Project director Chris Ferreira, a renowned author and sustainability worker, said one of the gardens was built at the Wallcliffe Fire Services Brigade’s headquarters on Wallcliffe Road last year. “Our Firewise program is designed to help make people safer from the impacts of fire in these at-risk regions,” he said. “We aim to inspire and empower people to create landscapes that can at once make them safer and more sustainable so they can, in our words, ‘meet the fireys halfway’ with a home and landscape that can be defended. “For Margaret River, the plan is to install the firewise demo landscape in a high-profile space in partnership with the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River and the brigades so that we can have it there as a permanent example to help show people what is possible.” Possible locations includes the Shire’s headquarters or somewhere in the town centre, depending on availability. Mr Ferreira envisaged a circuit of demonstration gardens across the South West, with Denmark and Nannup also included in the latest funding round.