Australia — A NEW bushfire awareness campaign launched by the State Government today puts the onus back onto homeowners, telling them to prepare themselves for this fire season.
Emergency services minister Joe Francis, environment minister Albert Jacob and energy minister Mike Nahan this morning launched the ‘Are You Ready?’ campaign in Kings Park.
Last year there were more than 3,800 bushfires across WA.
Mr Francis said the theme of the campaign was that while the government is doing everything they can to prevent bushfires, the community needed to ‘do their bit’.
“It’s to encourage people in bushfire prone areas to do everything they can to make sure their houses are ready for this coming bushfire season, because it is a shared responsibility,” he said.
“Certainly what they should be doing is making sure their property is as fire ready as possible…so that if the worst happens and a bushfire starts roaring towards their house they know when to leave, when to stay, what to do if they choose to stay and who to listen to.
“What we do know is that the lottery of life that mother nature has dealt out to us so far is predicting that it’s going to be a very challenging bushfire season.”
Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith is the face of the campaign which asks homeowners in bushfire prone areas if they are ready for the threat of bushfire.
“He’s a very dignified, significant achiever in the Australian community,” Mr Francis said.
“People know that when he talks, he’s saying something worth listening to.”
As part of the campaign, the state government has assured the community that they have done ‘everything they can’ to ensure firefighters – both career and volunteer – have the necessary resources to be prepared for the season.
Mr Jacob said the late rain this year meant there was more vegetation than usual, and the bushfire threat is expected to be higher.
“High rainfall in September also meant it was not possible to conduct prescribed burns until conditions dried out in October. Since then, the Department of Parks and Wildlife has been using every opportunity to carry out prescribed burns, but they are not a silver bullet,” he said.
Mr Nahan said Western Power had spent $250 million preparing for bushfires, including $180 million on power pole replacements and vegetation management.