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Katanning bushfire chief warns region unprepared for fire season

The head of Katanning’s bushfire preparations has declared the region is at increased risk to bushfires this year and not ready for the upcoming fire season.

As the prohibited burning period started at the beginning of this month, Katanning fire control officer Norman Flugge has revealed there is a high fuel load around the townsite and shire.

“We are in a high-risk environment, there is higher fuel loads which are going to make fires more challenging to control,” he said. “The wet year we have had has led to a high growth rate in weeds and grasses.

“The risk is greatly enhanced simply because the higher fuel loads that are there haven’t yet been mitigated by people mowing, control burns or using any other control mechanisms to reduce those fuel loads from my observations.”

Given the recent history of bushfires in Katanning, Mr Flugge said fire preparation should be fresh in the minds of locals.

He called on residents to take their safety into their own hands.

“We want the community to be safe,” he said.

“The bushfire brigades will do everything in our ability to do that when and if a fire occurs.

“But we also expect the community to take their share of the responsibility — to be compliant with Shire directives and managing the fuel load on their properties.

“The time for preparation is now.

“While the risk at the moment is moderate it is simply because we have had late rains, but that is going to change dramatically as the weather warms.”

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