Smart burns help prevent serious bushfires - that's the message the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) is delivering to Western Australians as it prepares to conduct planned burns during the cooler months.
Today, the last Thursday in April, officially marks the end of DFES' high-threat period for the southern half of WA.
Local governments are now lifting restricted and prohibited burning periods, allowing private landowners to undertake controlled burns and reduce bushfire fuel loads on their properties.
A well-managed planned burn can reduce fuel without adversely affecting the environment, wildlife and ecosystems.
Through its annual Burn SMART campaign, DFES provides support for landowners to prevent planned burns escalating into serious bushfires.
Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm said while hundreds of planned burns were conducted safely and effectively reduced fuels, poorly managed burns could have devastating consequences.
"Conducting a planned burn is a big responsibility and we want to help the community minimise the risk," Mr Klemm said.
"In the wrong conditions, a planned burn can escape your property and become an uncontrollable bushfire that threatens lives and homes.
"I encourage anyone carrying out a planned burn to take advantage of Burn SMART's suite of resources to upskill or refresh themselves on the best practices.
"They guide landowners through the process of developing a burn plan for their property, understanding fuel and weather conditions and ensuring they have met local requirements."
More than 125 volunteer firefighters took part in specialised DFES courses last year that taught participants how to assist safely at planned burning activities.
Additional courses are scheduled later this year and will be facilitated in communities by a network of volunteers and career personnel who can deliver this training at a local level.
Mr Klemm said planned burns played a critical role in protecting communities from intense summer blazes, such as January's bushfire in Eagle Bay.
"The benefits of targeted burning programs were made clear during the Eagle Bay bushfire which threatened the townsites of Dunsborough, Eagle Bay and Bunker Bay," he said.
"Several burns carried out around the Dunsborough townsite and golf course by the City of Busselton - with the support of DFES - in autumn 2021 meant there was less fuel around assets and access was much easier for firefighters.
"Lower fuel loads also provided an opportunity to reallocate resources and ensure communities along Cape Naturaliste Road were protected."
The planned burns around Dunsborough were funded through the State Government's Mitigation Activity Fund, which has supported more than 4500 bushfire mitigation activities since 2017 valued at $33.7 million.
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