A selection of quotes taken from Mr Ferguson's report, given either orally, or contained in a written submission.
"We as Bush Fire Brigade... firefighters feel that we've been totally let down by the government, by DFES, and we're treated like second class citizens".
"DFES is a failure. It has attempted to impose a suppression-only approach to rural fire management, it has failed to address the fuel build-up problem, and it has antagonised volunteer bush fire fighters. We need rural fire management to be in the
hands of people who know what they're doing and who have no other agendas".
"Another source of frustration was the intransigence of officers at road blocks where common sense was not applied. For example, milk tankers were denied access to a property less than one kilometre from the road block forcing the driver to take back roads to gain access while the fire was still 30km away".
"In another circumstance, the driver of a truck from Geraldton that arrived to help evacuate 7000 cattle was arrested after attempting to go through a vehicle control point. The driver was subsequently released with the assistance of a fire control
"We have some very traumatic altercation (sic) with non-sensible (sic) police that seemed very rigid and arrogant in their handling of what we were doing. The road blocks made no allowance for the fact that farmers had livestock which needed to be taken care of, let alone the 'people welfare' aspects for farmers in the area. There doesn't seem to have been any consideration given to the needs of livestock and farmers during this period".
"I'm still asking what we pay (the Emergency Services Levy) for, because I didn't get any help, we didn't get any help".
"I would like to see a much more independent decision-making process relating to (Emergency Services Levy). Levy money is part of the overall funds that are available for bushfire management in WA and they should go into the pool, which is then allocated according to a properly thought out strategy: where is the problem, what are the priorities, where will the money do most good?"
"Fire fighter crews (not from local areas) said they were told not to fight agricultural fires, just secure infrastructure".
In a hearing with the special inquiry, the Harvey control officer shared his experience:
"Take the Yarloop and Waroona fire... we had sector commanders that were telling crews they couldn't go off the bitumen. They had to wait for the fire to come to them...
there was,really, in any sense, no attempt by DFES to actually pull that fire up. This issued was discussed by the special inquirer with the incident controller commander
(who said), 'What I have heard is sometimes with the DFES people there's a focus on asset - structural protection, I should say - perhaps to the detriment of putting the fire out". "So there's a bloke, you know, with a good crop, a lot of dried ground and he's got a fire break alongside his boundary and the reserve next door has got something there full of noxious weeds and bloody fire hazard and all this hasn't been burnt off