Leading the way in bushfire mitigation

Article image - Leading the way in bushfire mitigation Point Henry on fire in 2012

In the Shire of Jerramungup, Western Australia, in December 2012, more than 11,000 hectares of bushland at Bremer Bay was destroyed by fire. 

The local school was closed and 350 residents were placed on a Department of Fire and Emergency Services Watch and Act alert.

Farmers in the area, who would normally have been harvesting crops and tending stock, joined the ranks of fire fighters to defend the Bremer Bay town site.

The fire was extinguished 3km from town but residents were left with the knowledge that this one had been too close.

The Shire acted quickly and councillors voted by absolute majority to develop a Fire Management Strategy for the Point Henry Fire Reserve.

Local Planning Policy No. 18 – Point Henry Fire Management was adopted in 2015 and the Shire worked with local residents to implement the mitigation measures. 

Included was the need for dedicated water supplies, building protection zones and clear access for heavy fire fighting vehicles.

Council later adopted a Bushfire Risk Management Plan 2017-2022 which today is leading the way in bushfire mitigation standards. 

Recently the Department of Emergency Services Rural Fire Division collaborated with Council to form a case study on the Shire’s extensive bushfire preparedness work. 

The community’s proactive learning and use of local knowledge will be used to help other regions build better resilience to bushfires.

This project highlights what can be achieved with consultation and participation from community.