The region’s top bushfire officer has written to more than 1000 households warning their properties are at “extreme” risk during any future fire disaster. Shire of Augusta-Margaret River community emergency services manager Adam Jasper confirmed the correspondence urged homeowners to bring their homes up to standard, prepare emergency bushfire plans, and put safety measures in place immediately. The determination of more than 1000 rateable properties — with many within the coastal scarp razed during the 2011 bushfires — comes from the Shire’s Bushfire Risk Mitigation Plan, which identified about 25 per cent of the shire’s strategic assets were at similar risk. “With assistance from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, the Shire conducted a risk assessment on all built assets within the shire, assigning ratings ranging from low through to extreme,” Mr Jasper said. “Across the shire, approximately 1000 private residences were identified as being located in an extreme rating area. “Under the BRMP, assets with an extreme rating require a treatment plan and additional control measures put in place to lessen the risk where possible.” The letters to homeowners were a “public education” measure, offering compliance options and links to emergency resources, with no compulsion for ratepayers to follow the advice. Local volunteers have expressed frustration with at-risk properties, particularly holiday homes, and the lack of bushfire planning among some residents and absentee landlords. Shire president and veteran firefighter Ian Earl urged homeowners to be “bushfire-ready”. “They will all get a big shock and wake-up call when there is a fire in their area and they find a big cross on the road in front of their property that indicates that the fire fighters won’t enter because it is too dangerous for them,” he told the Times. “These letters should be a warning to those who didn’t understand the risk that they were at, to make sure that they are well prepared to try to mitigate against the fire that they will probably face at some stage.” “It is very difficult to get through to people who just don’t want to listen.” While bushfire risks facing coastal homes was an ongoing issue, Cr Earl stressed homes on bush blocks east of Margaret River were included in the audit. A Wallcliffe Volunteer Bushfire Brigade spokesman on social media said a recent informal audit within their gazetted fire zone was “alarming”. “It’s an astounding level of complacency considering these same communities have experienced catastrophic bushfire as recent as 2009 and 2011,” the brigade said. “If you’re one of those unprepared families that trots out the old saying ‘Oh we’d just pack up and leave,’ we’re here to tell you that’s an embarrassingly inadequate fire plan.” The brigade said “only a handful” of residents around Prevelly, Gnarabup, Kilcarnup, Wilderness and Burnside had written fire plans. Residents were asked to control bush growth, overhanging branches, and access routes, as well as remove potential fuel loads next to houses, which included some landscaping and built features. Mr Jasper said physical fuel reduction, having a compliant Asset Protection Zone, a personal bushfire plan, and joining a local Bushfire-Ready Group were all encouraged.