Firebreak dates for Wanneroo and Gingin

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Firebreaks, which help firefighters manage bushfires, need to be cleared by November 1 in both the City of Wanneroo and the Shire of Gingin this year. File picture

LANDOWNERS in the City of Wanneroo must have their firebreaks cleared by Thursday, November 1 this year – two weeks earlier than usual.

Firebreaks in the City of Wanneroo, which includes rural blocks in Yanchep, Carabooda and Two Rocks, are required to be a minimum of 3m wide and to have a minimum clearance above firebreaks set at 3.5m.

The earlier date means firebreak inspections will now start from November 2.

Bringing forward the date for firebreaks provides more time to complete remedial firebreak works if needed prior to the high-threat summer period and meant the date aligned with other local governments.

In the Shire of Gingin landowners need to install by November 1 – and maintain through until May 31 next year – a 3m wide bare earth cleared firebreak as close as possible to all external boundaries of the property.

City of Wanneroo chief bushfire control officer Paul Postma said under the Bush Fires Act 1954 it was the landowner’s responsibility to install a firebreak and undertake fire hazard management on their property.

“Firebreaks are installed for several reasons; critically, they  enable firefighters to safely navigate properties under threat as well as allowing firefighting crews access to the property to slow down the rate of spread of a fire,” he said.

“Firebreaks do not generally stop fires but they provide quick access when required and allow firefighters to carry out hazard reduction burns to reduce a fire’s intensity.

“Most City of Wanneroo residents are generally very compliant and understanding of the requirements to prepare their properties for fire as they are located within a known bushfire prone area, however there are a small minority who choose not comply with the legal requirements to install firebreaks.”

Failure to comply will result in the issuing of an infringement notice.

Mayor Tracey Roberts said it was vital that landowners were vigilant when it came to fire hazard management.

“Your support in being well-prepared in the event of a bushfire will greatly assist you, your neighbours and firefighters,” she said.

For further information, visit wanneroo.wa.gov.au or call community safety and emergency management on 9405 5000.

The restricted burning period in the Shire of Gingin starts on Thursday, October 11 and finishes on Wednesday, November 21.

A permit to burn, which may be obtained from your local fire control officer, is required for all burning during this time.

Where it is not possible to install the firebreak adjacent to the external boundary of the property due to naturally occurring obstacles, it is acceptable to install the firebreak around the obstacle.

If this requires the firebreak to be greater than 5m away from the external boundary, then a firebreak variation is required.

Landowners need to install and maintain a 20m asset protection zone surrounding all buildings, big hay stacks and fuel storage areas.

An asset protection zone includes undertaking measures such as pruning all lower tree branches to prevent fire entering the trees, ensuring a 3m spacing between tree canopies to prevent treetop fires spreading between trees, keeping all grasses to a height of not more than 50mm and storing all firewood piles more than 20m away from the buildings.

Areas cleared for the purpose of burning require 20m firebreak (stubble burning excluded).

A minimum vertical clearance of 4m needs to be maintained along firebreaks to ensure vehicles can drive along the firebreaks without being impeded by tree branches.

A firebreak order booklet is available at https://www.gingin.wa.gov.au/services/emergency-services/firebreak-orders.aspx