Bob Wiese

Bob Wiese


    Hills dwellers warned to ensure fire safety measures are in place

    13/02/1996 12:00 AM



    Emergency Services Minister Bob Wiese today urged all property owners with homes surrounded by bushland to ensure proper fire safety precautions were in place.


    Mr Wiese said yesterday's fire disaster in the Chidlow area highlighted the fire risks home owners faced living in the hills region, with residential developments set among large tracts of scrub and bushland.


    "Western Australia has experienced a late start to the fire season and what happened in Chidlow could occur at any time with the onset of this hot weather," he said.


    "All areas of bushland have the potential to become a bushfire disaster and there is a need for the community to be fire-alert.


    "People who choose to live in a bushfire-prone region must take added precautions by cleaning out gutters, maintaining fire breaks and a 20-metre clear zone around the home."


    Mr Wiese said the risk to firefighters reinforced the need for homeowners living in bushland areas to ensure their properties had adequate fire safe precautions.


    "Firefighters put their lives on the line to save homes and property and it is crucial that their safety is not jeopardised unnecessarily when preparation and consideration by property owners is all it takes," he said.


    Mr Wiese offered his sympathies to the family, friends and fellow firefighters of volunteer firefighter Glen Hoffman, who died following an accident during the operations at Chidlow.


    "As a farmer and volunteer fire fighter for many years, I have seen the tremendous commitment and dedication of all our volunteers across all emergency services organisations who are always prepared to respond to help others without considering the personal risk," he said.


    Mr Wiese said as recommended through the Day Report the three fire authorities - WA Fire Brigades Board, Bush Fires Board and Conservation and Land Management - were working closely together to monitor the ongoing fire risk in the hills region.


    He said with the spate of hot weather the onus was on people to observe fire danger warning signs around the home and while on picnics and barbecues.


    Mr Wiese said parents must take a responsible approach and educate their children about the dangers of playing with lighters and matches.


    "Statistics indicate the majority of deliberately lit bushfires around the metropolitan area are started by children," he said.


    "I urge parents not to leave their children unsupervised after school or during holiday periods and help avoid a potential disaster."


    Media contact: Mark Thompson 222 9595