Public access to Lake Leschenaultia will be assessed on a regular basis to align with Fire Danger Ratings from 18 December 2020, under new rules introduced by Shire of Mundaring.
Manager Recreation and Leisure Services, Kirk Kitchin, said the rules would help to keep visitors, campers and staff at the lake safe during the bushfire season.
"Previously, the trigger to close the lake was when the fire danger rating was 'Extreme' or 'Catastrophic'," he said.
"Due to the significant increase in visitation the lake is experiencing, this has been extended to include the 'Severe' category."
Mr Kitchin said limited access to the lake; the environment surrounding it and the risk to users and staff if hundreds of vehicles and a lot of people tried to evacuate at once, had the potential to be devastating in the event of an out of control bushfire.
"This would also hamper response capabilities of emergency services trying to access properties in the area," he said.
"The Shire will manage access to the lake dependent on the fire danger ratings, with the intent to inform visitors via our website and social media channels if a closure is imminent."
Under the new arrangements the Shire will:
- Close access to Lake Leschenaultia, but keep the campground open, if the Lower West Inland district's Fire Danger rating is Severe.
- Close access to Lake Leschenaultia, including the campground, if the Lower West Inland district's Fire Danger rating is Extreme or Catastrophic.
Mr Kitchin advised those planning to visit this lake – located in the Lower West Inland District of Western Australia – to check the current Fire Danger Rating via the Bureau of Meteorology's Fire Danger Rating page.
"The Bureau publishes bush fire ratings four days in advance and we encourage people to visit the BOM website for updates, or check the Home page of the Shire website to view our fire emergency wheel," he said.
"Patrons are reminded that regardless of the fire danger rating, if there is a bushfire or other incident in the area, the lake may be evacuated at short notice."
Shire of Mundaring residents can also subscribe to a free Bush Fire Safety Information SMS notification service to stay informed about changes to Fire Danger Ratings on days of Very High or above, via the Shire website.
Lake closure triggers at a glance:
Fire Danger Ratings
Lower West Inland district
|Park, Kiosk, MTB trails, canoe hire and public toilets||Campground|