SHIRE of Mundaring is urging residents to take better precautions when conducting burns on their properties after an alarming 14 incidents of escaped hazard reduction burns were reported over the weekend.
The incidents, which were the result of fires not being properly extinguished and/or illegal burning, were all attended to by volunteer fire brigades with some burns taking volunteers hours to extinguish.
Chief Bushfire Control Officer Jamie O'Neill said that escaped burns had the potential to cause significant damage.
"Our local volunteer fire brigades have been increasingly called upon as a direct result of community members failing to properly extinguish burns on their properties," he said.
In many cases, residents had let burning piles 'fizzle out' naturally and had not followed the Shire's burning regulations which require all piles to be extinguished before midnight.
"Residents' failure to properly saturate the burn area with water once complete has meant many fires have continued to burn peat and roots underground, eventually becoming uncontained," Mr O'Neill said.
"These escaped burns have not only damaged property belonging to residents and their neighbours but have incurred added costs of volunteer and local government time and resources."
The Shire is reminding residents to abide by the following steps in preparing for, conducting and extinguishing a burn:
Before you light up your 1sqm pile
- Notify your neighbours.
- Rake a bare earth (mineral earth) firebreak around the pile.
- Have your garden hose laid out, pressurised and ready for use. Ensure the hose can reach the pile and beyond in case the fire spreads.
- Check weather conditions. Check winds and temperature.
During the burn
- Monitor smoke. If smoke is causing a nuisance or traffic hazard, reduce smoke or extinguish.
- Make sure you contain your fire within your firebreak.
- Always have a capable person in attendance close to the fire.
After the burn
- Completely extinguish the fire by saturating it with water so it is cold with no steam and no smoke.
- Inspect the next morning and continue monitoring for the next couple of days.
- Leave the garden hose in the vicinity of the fire so if the fire does reignite the hose is ready to extinguish.
Mr O'Neill said that while it was important that residents continue to reduce fuel loads on their properties through hazard reduction burns, it was paramount that the Shire's burning regulations be followed to ensure the safety of the community.
Residents who illegally burn, burn without a permit or do not extinguish a fire may be issued with a $250 infringement from the Shire. This excludes any prosecution for damages that the resident may be liable for under the Bushfires Act 1954 and where a magistrate may impose a fine up to $10,000 for contravening the Bush Fires Act.
For all bushfire and preparedness advice please contact the Shire of Mundaring fire safety team on 9290 6696 or refer the Shire of Mundaring Fire and Burning Information booklet and Information Sheets via the Shire website.
To book a free place in the Shire's Winter Burning Workshops visit the website or call 9290 6696.