Esperance region at 'above average fire potential'

Photo- Supplied.
Photo- Supplied.

The Esperance region has been identified as an area with above average fire potential by the Southern Australia Bushfire Outlook report.

The report was issued by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre, which conducts research to help produce a ‘disaster-resilient’ Australia.

The report found despite good winter rainfall, the underlying and persistent deep root zone soil moisture deficits along the Esperance Plains had resulted in forest and shrub land vegetation sustaining to additional water stress.

The report also found their had been significant rain in the early part of 2018, which resulted in elevated surface soil moisture in some areas.

This means there had been increased growth of the shrubs and grasses and therefore an increased expected fuel load. 

Esperance Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service captain Geoff Close said emergency services brigades prepared for a high risk season every year and encouraged the public to play their role in safeguarding their communities.

“It means that everyone needs to clean up,” he said.

“It’s up to everyone in town to clean up, mow your lawn, do some slashing, clean your gutters and keep your fuel loads down.

“Do whatever you need to do around your home to minimise the risk.”

Mr Close said while the brigade was training to respond to fires, the community needed to help with prevention efforts.

“You cant predict when a fire is going to occur,” he said. 

Mr Close advised anyone who was going to burn off on their properties in preparation for the peak bushfire season to inform their neighbours, as this would prevent false alarm calls to the brigade. 

He estimated the peak bushfire season for Esperance would be around January and February of 2019. 

All zones in the Esperance Shire are currently in an Unrestricted Burning Period. 

A Restricted Burning Period is set to occur between September 19 and to October 31.

Between November 1, 2018 and January 31, 2019 Esperance will be in a Prohibited Burning Period. 

The Esperance Shire can alter these periods with notice.