Firefighters mop up after a bushfire in Leschenault last Friday.Australind teenager risks life to fight blaze threatening his street | PhotosNew Bunbury emergency vehicle ready for actionTWO blazes in separate corners of Greater Bunbury last week have prompted warnings from authorities at the start of the fire risk season.
Last Thursday evening a bushfire started seven kilometres east of Burekup, burning through over 50 hectares before a crew of about 20 firefighters brought it under control just short of state forest.
Less than 18 hours later a runaway permit burn on vacant block in Leschenault tore through a hectare of land and was stopped just short of bush on Old Coast Road.
It took 30 firefighters and ten vehicles an hour to get it under control.
Department of Fire and Emergency Services South West Region superintendent Ricky Curtis said the response to both fires demonstrated Bunbury’s capacity to deal with a hot summer approaching.
But Mr Curtis said the community should not solely rely on fire fighters to prevent a disaster.
“Although we’ve got this mentality and we are going to throw everything we possibly can at it as hard and as fast as we can, the residents need to play their part as well,” Mr Curtis said.
The Leschenault fire started some time after an Australind Road home owner next to the block finished a controlled debris burn off.
It later reignited, burning through grassland and trees.
“The land owner was operating correctly within the permit, doing all the right things and believed that they had extinguished the fire – so I suppose my message there is some vigilance and visibility post-burn.
“Rather than leaving the area – have someone that is monitoring the fire even if its just poking your head out and having a look at it every 15 minutes.”
Leschenault is part of a northern “high risk” South West response zone, stretching through to Myalup and taking in hundreds of farmlet blocks.
Mr Curtis said that while residents should remain vigilant, they should think carefully before helping to fight a fire without appropriate equipment or training.
“I would prefer if you are not equipped to fight the fire, remove yourself to safety – property can be replaced whereas life cannot,” he said.
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