Coronial inquest into 2015 Esperance bushfires calls for more DFES staff and resources for local firefighters

Photo: Supplied.
Photo: Supplied.

Twelve recommendations have been handed down following a coronial inquest into the devastating 2015 Esperance bushfires.

The fire caused by a lightning strike to Unallocated Crown Land burned for 11 days, destroying hundreds of thousands of hectares of land and tragically claimed the lives of Kim 'Freddy' Curnow, Thomas Butcher, Anna Sushchova-Winther and Julia Kohrs-Lichte.

In the recommendations released on December 3, Coroner Sarah Linton called for the state government to fund more firefighting resources and DFES staff for the region to better equip local firefighters.

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Coroner Linton's primary recommendation was for the Department of Fire and Emergency Services to immediately create and fill three additional positions to supplement the current Area Officer in Esperance.

The second recommendation calls on DFES to begin plans and allocate funding for a Career Fire and Rescue Service Station to service the Esperance-Ravensthorpe Community and provide support to local volunteer brigades.

Other recommendations called on the state government to give higher drafting priority to the Consolidated Emergency Services Act and for DFES to fund an additional two light tanker appliances and one heavy duty appliance to be used by Esperance volunteer bushfire brigades.

The recommendations also called for support and funding for a long-term fire mitigation strategy.

The results come after a five-day coronial inquest into the Cascade Scaddan November 2015 bushfires in March 2019.

The inquest examined the deaths of Scaddan farmer Kym 'Freddy' Curnow and backpackers Thomas Butcher, Anna Winther and Julia Kohrs-Lichte who were killed on Grigg Road about 4.30pm on November 17, 2015.

The inquest investigated the circumstances of the bushfire and whether anything could have been done to prevent its 70km run through bushland and farmland over an 11-day period.

More to come.