Autumn prescribed burning activity will increase in coming weeks in areas surrounding Perth and across the State’s south-west after weather conditions allowed some burns to safely get underway in the last week. 

Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) Manager Fire Management Services Stefan de Haan said that despite a drier than usual summer and start to autumn, recent rain meant conditions were now ideal to start the autumn burning program.

“Prescribed burning is the best tool we have to protect the community and environment from the devastating impacts of large bushfires,” Mr de Haan said.

“We can’t control the temperature or wind when a bushfire starts, but what we can control in advance is the fuel load that helps the bushfire burn. Reduced fuel loads make it safer for firefighters to manage a bushfire and bring it under control.

“Some of the large destructive bushfires we have seen burn in long unburnt fuels over recent years reinforce the importance of reducing fuel loads to give ground crews and aircraft a greater chance of success to suppress bushfires quickly and safely.”

Mr de Haan said prior to making the decision to ignite a prescribed burn, DBCA’s Parks and Wildlife Service works with the Bureau of Meteorology and uses the best available information to minimise burning in conditions where smoke may impact populated areas.

“We thank the community for their understanding where smoke may impact populated areas at times over coming weeks and remind people to slow down, turn on headlights and drive carefully if smoke is affecting visibility on the roads,” he said.

“We understand that for people with health conditions exacerbated by smoke, this can be a difficult time and we encourage people to check the Emergency WA website for smoke alerts, shut doors and windows and turn off air conditioners when smoke is heavy, and follow their pre-prepared treatment plan.”

More than 12 months of planning goes into each prescribed burn but the final decision to carry out a burn is made the morning it is ignited, to take advantage of the safest possible conditions. 

Check the website after 10am daily for the latest information.