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Preparing for a bushfire

With over 90% of the City of Wanneroo bushfire prone, bushfires are a constant danger.

Bushfires do not discriminate between those in rural and urban areas. You might be surprised to find your property is deemed to be at high risk of bushfires even though you live in a regular, suburban area. Find out if your home is in, or near, a bushfire prone area by visiting a Map of Bushfire Prone Areas (areas highlighted in pink on the map indicate bushfire prone areas). 

While it’s easy to think it won’t happen to you, bushfires are becoming more frequent and intense so it’s important to be prepared. Follow the steps below to ensure you are as ready as possible for a bushfire.

Understand alerts and warnings

Fire Danger Ratings

Fire Danger Ratings provide you with daily advice about the level of bushfire threat in your area and are indicated on roadside signage. 

Fire danger rating sign

A ‘Moderate’ rating indicates the need to plan and prepare and a ‘High’ rating indicates that you need to be ready to act. When the rating indicates ‘Extreme’ you must act immediately, and if ‘Catastrophic’ you must leave bushfire risk areas now for your survival. Check these often over the hotter, summer months. The white bar across the bottom left (under Moderate) indicates when there is no fire danger rating.

Fire Danger Rating Information Boards are displayed in the following locations and are updated daily:

  • Breakwater Drive, Two Rocks
  • Gnangara Road, Landsdale
  • Neaves Road, Pinjar
  • Neaves Road, Mariginiup
  • Two Rocks Road, Yanchep
  • Wanneroo Road, Neerabup
  • Wanneroo Road, Yanchep
  • Wanneroo Road, Carabooda
  • Wanneroo Road, Nowergup

More information about the ratings is available at the Australian Fire Danger Rating System website.

Bushfire Warning System

The Bushfire Warning System provides information on the severity of a bushfire once it has started. There are three levels of warning. These change to reflect the increasing risk to your life or property, and the decreasing amount of time you have until the fire arrives.

  • ADVICE - Yellow

A fire has started but there is no immediate threat to lives or homes. Stay alert and watch for signs of a fire. Be aware and keep up to date.

  • WATCH AND ACT - Orange

A fire is approaching and there is a possible threat to lives or homes. Put your plan into action. If your plan is to leave, make sure you leave early. If your plan is to stay, check all your equipment is ready. Only stay and defend if you are mentally and physically prepared.

  • EMERGENCY WARNING - Red

An out of control fire is approaching fast and you need to take immediate action to survive. If you haven’t prepared your home it is too late. You must seek shelter or leave now if it is safe to do so.

 

Know where to get information before and during a fire

Throughout the hotter months, residents are encouraged to regularly utilise the sources of information below and become familiar with them before an emergency occurs.

  • Emergency WA

The best way to keep informed is with near-real time bushfire updates through the Emergency WA website. Incident information is provided through a map-based display using the Bushfire Warning System. Current information about total fire bans, fire danger ratings, and prescribed burns is also available here.

  • Radio

Local radio station ABC (720 AM) is the State’s official emergency services broadcaster and will provide regular updates in an emergency situation.

  • Phone

You can call 13DFES (13 3337) to listen to recorded and up-to-date emergency information for your area.

  • Personal networks

Talk to your neighbours, family and friends about your emergency plans, get to know your neighbours and the people in your street if you don’t already, write down the names of people that may help you in an emergency or that you may choose to help. Often, a neighbour, a relative or a friend will be the first person to let you know that there is smoke around or a fire nearby.

Your surroundings could also be your best information source. Stay alert to what is happening around you. If you believe you may be in danger, act immediately to stay safe.

Visit the Department of Fire and Emergency Services Warning Systems webpage for more information about keeping informed during an emergency.

 

Prepare your home and property

A well-prepared property and constructed house is more likely to survive a bushfire than an unprepared one. Firefighters cannot defend every property and are unlikely to defend a poorly prepared property – remember, their lives are at risk too.

Be aware of the requirements to carry out fire mitigation works, such as firebreaks, on your land. This is the responsibility of all land owners regardless of land size, even those in suburban areas. This work must be undertaken by 1 November each year and maintained until the 30 April the following year to help prevent the spread of fires.  

Download a Property Preparation Checklist to give your property the best chance of survival and find out more about asset protection zones.

 

Have a bushfire survival plan

The best chance of surviving a bushfire or other major emergency is to plan what you would do if something were to come your way. Consider different scenarios like what you would do if you were at home with people visiting, or at work when a fire threatens, or if you have children home alone during the school holidays. Don’t forget to include your pets and animals in your emergency planning.   

Take a moment now to consider these simple questions:

  • When will you know to leave?
  • Where will you go?
  • Which way will you go?

Creating a bushfire plan can take as little as 15 minutes. Start your plan now with My Bushfire Plan, which provides you with one place to prepare, store, print, share and update your plan from any device.

Pets and livestock

Information to help you prepare your pets and livestock, including horses, is available at the Department of Fire and Emergency Services website, and information on preparing for animal welfare at the Department of primary Industries and Regional Development.

Leaving early or stay and defend

The safest choice is always to leave early. Staying and defending, or sheltering in place, is dangerous and should only be done if you are extremely well prepared. If you plan to stay and defend, you must plan to be without mains power and water in the event the infrastructure is damaged, and therefore be entirely self-sufficient. It is recommended that you have an independent water supply and pumping capability. This typically requires water tanks of at least 20,000 litres, pump and generator.

The My Bushfire Plan website provides more detailed information about these choices and what is required. Visit the Water Corporation to find out more about bushfires and how they may impact your water supply.

 

Prepare an emergency survival kit

An emergency kit is an important step to prepare and protect your household for an emergency such as a bushfire. Having items put aside can increase self-reliance and decrease the stress and panic that can be overwhelming when faced with an emergency.

Keep your emergency survival kit in a storage container in a location that is easy to get to and that the whole family knows about. If you do already have an emergency kit, make sure you check it over and ensure everything is up to date and working properly on a regular basis.

The following webpages from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services will help you to prepare your own emergency survival kit:

 

Connect with the City

Supporting the long long-term resilience of our community to natural hazards including bushfires, storms and other major emergencies is a priority.

Visit our Prepare Together webpage to find out about information sessions and our family-friendly community event, complete our community survey, sign up for our e-newsletter or fire ban notifications, or hear from others who survived natural disasters in the City.

We also support local residents to hold their own community event to help neighbours, family and friends to be more prepared for emergencies. Contact the City’s Emergency Management Officer on 9405 5000 to find out how we can help.

 

Returning home

During an emergency, residents may be evacuated from their homes and not able to return to their properties for several days or even weeks. This will be controlled by Hazard Management Agencies such as Department of Fire and Emergency Services and the WA Police.

A Restricted Access Permit may be issued to residents, business owners, utility companies or other approved persons to enter a ‘restricted access area’ for a period of time and for a specific purpose. This will be after the immediate threat has passed and it has been deemed safe for persons to enter. Where you can apply for a permit will be communicated via Emergency WA.

Returning home can be a daunting experience. Find out more about access permits, safety, wellbeing support, and emergency accommodation at the Department of Fire and Emergency Services Recovering from a Bushfire webpage.