We know it and our incredible members certainly do too – fires in the Goldfields, Midlands and Great Southern regions have taken a lot of volunteer time, knowledge and expertise to manage this year. And we also know that while DFES has a pretty good oversight of everything that has been happening, there are probably twice as many smaller incidents our amazing bush fire volunteers managed without the State Department being involved or even knowing.
It’s therefore great to see DFES officers like Anthony Sadler acknowledge the registered volunteers and importantly, unregistered farmer response units that pull together and keep our regional communities safe.
The Goldfields-Midlands region has experienced the worst bushfire season since 2014-15, with bushfire warnings issued every day since December 1.
This season is not over, but data received by the Kalgoorlie Miner from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services revealed between December 1 and the end of February, 211 bushfires had been reported in the region.
The number of bushfires in the region had not exceeded 200 during that same period since the 2014-15 season, when 224 fires were reported between December 1 and the end of February.
During the same period in 2015-16, 128 bushfires were reported; in 2016-17 there were 144; and in 2017-18 there were 141.
According to DFES Goldfields-Midlands superintendent Anthony Sadler, the number of bushfires this season could be attributed to more storm events than in previous years.
So far this season, 47 of the reported bushfires have been caused by lightning, including the spate of fires throughout the shires of Dundas and Esperance.
The blaze near Parmango Road in Buraminya was sparked by lightning on January 13 and was not cleared until March 10.
In 2014-15, there were 35 bushfires caused by lightning; in 2015-16 there were 52; in 2016-17 there were 13; and in 2017-18 there were 14.
So far this season, 53 fires have been reported as deliberate and suspicious — the highest since 2014-15, when 94 were recorded.
Supt Sadler said volunteer and career firefighters and farmers worked around the clock to protect the community and DFES was always on the lookout for more volunteers to help.