Firefighting brigades have flagged serious concerns residents, visitors and backpackers are risking another extreme fire disaster because of the increasing popularity of “bush doofs” this summer. Bush raves have been a regular feature in Margaret River but since the pandemic the number of unauthorised events has increased, with serious worries about fire safety as well as the potential for “super spreader” COVID-19 events. WA Police have also warned anyone illegally accessing the bush and flouting restrictions. A local Facebook page dedicated to secret bush raves has recently disappeared, with the Times understanding police were aware organisers had developed a business for profit. The Wallcliffe Volunteer Bushfire Brigade took to social media at the weekend to put attendees on notice. “Whilst people dancing all night under the stars may seem to be a low-impact activity, bush doofs also pose some serious risks that people running them or attending may not think about,” the brigade said. “Hundreds of people lining bush tracks in remote forest and national parks have other significant risks, which includes bushfires, either accidentally started from cigarettes, or electrical equipment failure and portable generators used for sound and lighting. “Remembering that the critical phase in the successful suppression of a bushfire is the first hour from ignition, water bombers can’t drop water at night and they can’t drop water on fires when there are people present below. “Three tonnes of water travelling at 180km/h can break branches in trees and injure people.” The brigade was also concerned about the risk of safely evacuating “hundreds of people under the influence of drugs and alcohol” and getting vehicle access during that critical window. The concerns follow a rash of complaints about bush parties, including a huge event near Honeycombs surf break in Yallingup last month. Nearby residents who asked not to be named told the Times the rave was “significantly attended by Margaret River residents”. “Not much social distancing,” the source observed. Shire of Augusta-Margaret River chief executive Stephanie Addison-Brown shared the brigade’s concerns. “The Shire takes these dangers seriously and takes action to prevent them, including media releases and combined action with police and DBCA,” she said. “Shire rangers have recently participated in one such operation where a party was closed down during its set up.” Shire rangers co-ordinator Naz Graue said rangers were continuing their blitz on illegal camping and were taking a zero-tolerance approach.