Below is a media statement announcing the publication of the DFES (via OBRM) report into the escaped planned burns in late May in the Great Southern region of WA. While the report makes a number of very worthy comments and recommendations, the Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades (AVBFB) has significant concerns about some content and will publish a formal response in the coming weeks.
The most important message for the time being is that the event, and report to some extent, confirms the enormous value of the local knowledge and physical capacity of our incredible volunteer bush fire service as well as the surge capacity that our network of highly skilled and trained network of brigades around the State can deliver when a large scale incident like this occurs over several days.
The Office of Bushfire Risk Management (OBRM) has today released its report into the escaped planned burns in late May by private land owners and two by a government agency throughout the Great Southern and South West including Albany and Denmark.
The report considered whether actions undertaken by private land owners, local governments, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services leading up to the unusual weather event were sufficient, and whether current mechanisms to mitigate the risk of escaped burns are adequate.
The report did not examine the operational response or incident management to the fires which occurred on 24 and 25 May.
The report identifies 16 opportunities for improvement including physical, planning, training and financial support for land owners and local governments, community education and awareness, and the use of a common criteria for assessing risk and resourcing when planning and undertaking burns.
For a full copy of the report visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au/waemergencyandriskmanagement/obrm/pages/publications.aspx