Three shifts to Capel fires

Three shifts and the 4.4 attended the Capel fires Thursday and Friday, March 1 & 2.  The first shift, with Matty, Stevo, Joe,  Noel and Tony S, left around 1pm.

Approaching the Capel fire ground

On the way down they were told that the Vasse truck was “lost” and there were four fires burning.  Later they learned the truck had got bogged in a collapsed  rabbit warren and jammed against a paperbark.  The truck had to be evacuated but the crew were ok.

Our crew spent the afternoon initially trying to stop the fire getting into the larger trees and then watching out for hop-overs and patrolling the fire’s perimeters. The highlight was probably knocking over a very large burning stag that turned out to have a large bee’s nest in it that tormented the firefighters for the next 24 hours.

The second crew started around 8pm and consisted of Annie, Ian Morrison, Andy, Blaze and Chris A. They worked steadily all night blacking out in the Southern Sector with a couple of races to hop overs well into the bush. They had a lot of pump practice with 8 fill ups from the muddy dam. They appreciated the crew of 5 as the heavy hose got heavier by 2am.  The highlight was Annie being sung happy birthday over the radio.

The last crew of David, Mark P, Pete and Alan worked from 8 am to 3pm blacking out, putting out burning stags and chasing down breakouts. By then the truck was known as “the Yallingup Heavy”.

Chris refines his farming skills

Most of the water came from a very muddy dam and at times it appeared the brigade had come up with a new firefighting technic of “mudding out” . Unfortunately the pump didn’t enjoy it and was in for repairs on Saturday.  Although it was mostly pasture, parts were covered with soft sand, making driving very difficult.

Area to see major fire funding increase-funds for Rural under discussion

As part of the WA government’s response to the Margaret River fires, between $16-20 million dollars has been earmarked for the region to enhance its firefighting capabilities. The money will be going towards about 16 new appliances, fire shed extensions and the creation of a new fire station in Vasse with up to 30 professional firefighters. Currently, discussions are under way regarding  additional funding for Yallingup Rural.

About 50 volunteers, including 12 from Rural, Tuesday, heard FESA  Regional Director John Tillman and Capes District Manager, Danny Mosconi explain the government’s plans in response to the Keelty Report on the MR fires.

The other major message from the briefing was that things will not necessarily be different on a day to day basis once the area has been gazetted as a fire district next year.  They described the announcements as a great opportunity for the district. Continue reading “Area to see major fire funding increase-funds for Rural under discussion”

Big Changes in Responsibility Planned for Yallingup Rural Area

By next summer roughly half of the Yallingup Rural area will be part of a new gazetted fire district, according to the Ministerial Response to the Margaret River Fire Enquiry. (see here.) By 2015, the whole area will be part of a new district. Under this new regime, the brigade will no longer have direct responsibility for primary response.

The ministerial statement, released February 23 states:  “These gazettals mean that FESA (either through a career Fire and Rescue Service station or a volunteer Fire and Rescue Service Brigade) becomes the hazard management authority within the boundaries of the gazetted district and will have direct responsibility for primary response. Additional fire and rescue capability will result, but additional responsibilities will fall to residents in terms of increases in the Emergency Service Levy for these areas. These increases will commence in the financial year following the implementation date of the relevant fire district……….

“These expanded fire districts will require the allocation of additional fire and emergency resources and the possible construction of additional career fire stations, but all changes will be done in close collaboration with volunteer brigades and local government. The
additional FESA presence complements and does not replace existing volunteer fire units.”

FESA Management to discuss Keelty Report on MR fire with brigades Tuesday, 28th

Invitation from FESA District Manager-Capes Danny Mosconi:

Apologies for the short notice but myself and Regional Director John Tillman would like to meet with you and your brigade members to discuss the Keelty Report and in particular the Ministerial Report (see links here.)

All of you will have many questions and the region is keen to provide information, hear questions, answer what we can and consult to progress the issues.

Proposed dates and times for these meetings are as follows; Monday 27th Feb – A/MR Brigades 10am Wallcliffe Station Tuesday 28th Feb – Busselton BFS Brigades 5pm Shire Committee Room upstairs

If you and your brigade members could attend it would be appreciated. Feel free to attend either of these meetings. At the end of all visits I will attempt to collate all questions and answers so that those who are not in attendance can have some information regarding the changes.


Danny Mosconi

More Resources as Yallingup becomes Gazetted Fire District

Local MLA and Emergency Services Minister, Troy Buswell, was quoted Thursday as saying Yallingup, along with Busselton and Dunsborough, will receive a significant increase in firefighting resources as they become incorporated into a gazetted fire district.

According to the Busselton Dunsborugh Times, Buswell said “This is in recognition of the risks posed in our area by fire, and we will be working through the details, and engaging with the City of Busselton and local fire brigades.”

New Access Roads to be Considered for Yallingup

In response to the Keetly Report on the MR fires (see previous post) the WA government has said new access roads will be urgently considered for Prevelly, Yallingup, Gracetown and the College Grove area, providing reasonable and alternate evacuation routes in the event of future bushfires.

The problem of deadend roads in the MR region and the threat they cause to lives was highlighted during public hearings after the November fire.