Facts on Fire

Fire management is not something that is confined to any particular land tenure, nor any part of the State. It crosses all tenures, over the whole of Western Australia, and needs to looked at in a holistic way. This means that there needs to be a cooperative approach between State Government agencies that are responsible for land, local government and private landowners. Occasionally, Commonwealth agencies may also be involved.

In WA, the main State Government agency that manages State forests, national parks, and terrestrial nature reserves and several other types of tenure, is currently the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC). However, several other agencies are also responsible for areas of rural land, albeit to a smaller extent than DEC. Others have infrastructure on rural land that can be affected by bushfires. These include Landcorp and Western Power.

For example, here is a powerline that is in danger of being destroyed by a bushfire.


This photograph illustrates the core problem in bushfire management : the heavy fuel under the power line. Unless bush fuels are kept at a low level, we will continue to have large and intense bush fires.
While grazing by livestock, herbicide spraying and mechanical removal have some application in limited areas, the only way to manage fuel levels over large areas of forest, heath or woodland is by fuel reduction burning. The effectiveness of fuel reduction burning for reducing the extent and severity of bushfires has been conclusively proven in Western Australia, so long as a minimum level of about 300,000 ha a year is achieved.
Setting up and maintaining systems that facilitate broad scale fuel reduction burning are a critical function of government at both State and local level.