Australia — WESTERN Australia’s wet winter has authorities fearing a devastating bushfire season to come, as New South Wales firefighters continue to fight their worst blaze for 50 years.
Launching WA’s Bushfire Action Week, Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis said the wetter than usual winter months had meant higher grass growth and less prescribed burns across the state.
“That means any bushfire has the potential to be intense and dangerous,” Mr Francis said.
“We have done everything we can to prepare for any threat that arises. Our firefighters are set for the season, but people have to understand that there are no guarantees in bushfire season.
“It’s a dangerous time. Last year alone, there were more than 3,800 bushfires across WA.”
WA and federal governments, supported by the National Aerial Firefighting Centre, have boosted the overall capacity of WA’s aerial firefighting fleet, which will include an Erickson Aircrane.
“This year’s fleet of 22 helicopter and fixed-wing water bombers can drop more water than previous fleets, greatly helping firefighters who protect lives and properties on the frontline,” Mr Francis said.
WA land owners were also urged to play their part in reducing the risk of bushfire, by clearing around their property, installing firebreaks and cleaning out gutters.