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State and local government agencies in Margaret River are working together to prepare for the coming bushfire season with a number of prescribed burns being undertaken near the town.
The recent spring weather has provided ideal conditions for prescribed burning and the Parks and Wildlife Service and the Shire of Augusta Margaret River have been capitalising on favourable weather conditions to minimise the risk of bushfires on communities.
Parks and Wildlife Service Fire Coordinator Ed Hatherley said steady south-easterly winds, occasional rainfall and cool temperatures was enabling the department to reduce fuel loads.
“Prescribed burning is an important land management tool in reducing fuel loads to minimise the threat of hot summer bushfires as well as conserving biodiversity by stimulating plant regeneration,” he said.
Chief Bush Fire Control Officer, Dave Holland acknowledged the work being done by local landholders in reducing fuels on their own properties by burning garden refuse and ground fuels on privately-owned bush blocks.
“I would like to remind residents that we are in a restricted burning period and anyone wanting to conduct a prescribed burn needs to apply for a permit from the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River,” he said.
“This is in accordance with the Shire’s Firebreak and Fuel Hazard Reduction Notice 2017-18, which outlines landholder obligations for maintaining firebreaks and preparing their properties for the coming bushfire season.”
“While the notice stipulates that these works need to be done by December, the weather is changing now and we will shortly be in bushfire season, so there is no time like the present to prepare your properties.”
Shire Community Emergency Services Manager Chris Lloyd said a recent Shire prescribed burn on the north edge of Margaret River was a great success with support from the local community.
“Everyone understood that this burn was extremely important for the town’s protection and they pitched in and completed this burn in a single day. Residents also saw a second burn last week which was conducted by local Parks and Wildlife Services.”
Mr Hatherley said was great to see the support from the local community and the other fire agencies in preparing, planning and undertaking prescribed burns.
“We have a number of burns planned around Margaret River and where possible the Department will try to complement neighbouring burns on tenure managed by other agencies.”
The burns being undertaken are part of the Bushfire Risk Management Plan prepared by the Shire, Department of Fire and Emergency Services and Parks and Wildlife Service highlighting the shared responsibility.
Media contact: DBCA Media 9219 9999
Two new fire danger rating signs will provide Shire of Augusta Margaret River residents with daily updates about local conditions pertaining to the potential risk of bushfire.
The solar powered signs will take a data feed from the Bureau of Meteorology website to ensure information is accurate, up-to-date and in real time.
Shire Community Emergency Services Manager Chris Lloyd encouraged community members to refresh their knowledge about the meaning of the ratings, and the recommended actions of each category.
“The fire danger ratings ranged from low-moderate to catastrophic,” he said.
“Each rating comes with a recommendation of what you should do – whether it is staying alert and aware of fire risk, getting ready to act, or acting immediately.
“The ratings act as a trigger point for many families to start enacting their bushfire preparedness plan early.
“Please take time to make yourself familiar with the fire danger ratings by visiting the DFES website.”
Mr Lloyd said the first of the signs was installed last week at the northern entry to Cowaramup, while the second sign would likely be installed in the Margaret River townsite in the near future.
“These fixed signs aim to capture tourist traffic as well as locals,” he said.
“The whole of the Shire is a declared Bushfire Prone Area and we need to ensure the preparedness message is spread far and wide.”
The new fire danger rating signs will be complemented by the rotation of large variable messaging road signage.
“The message is be aware, be informed, and be prepared,” Mr Lloyd said.
“We can’t afford complacency.”
Beach walkers, particularly those with dogs, are being asked to keep an eye out for the threatened Hooded Plovers currently known nesting at local beaches including Boodjidup, Kilcarnup, Gnoocardup, Grunters and Prevelly.
The birds nest between October to February each year and are particularly susceptible to human and four-wheel-drive traffic with eggs usually laid in a shallow sand scrape just above the high tide mark.
Once the chicks hatch, they begin to forage on the beach with their parents and are at risk from predation by dogs and other animals.
Shire of Augusta Margaret River Senior Environment Officer John McKinney reminded all beachgoers to adhere to signage regarding dog exercise areas, walk below the high tide line and stay out of roped off areas.
He further reminded dog owners to keep their pets on leads near nests even in dog exercise areas.
“It’s fantastic news that these birds are being attracted to our local beaches and we are seeing them breeding,” he said.
“Obviously the goal is to get these birds off the threatened species list and get them flourishing in numbers again.”
Anyone who sees a Hooded Plover is asked to please report it to Parks and Wildlife on 9752 5555.
Surveillance cameras will be installed in illegal dumping hotspots around the Shire of Augusta Margaret River in the coming weeks in a bid tackle instances of littering and harmful waste disposal.
The move coincides with an overhaul of the local waste management system that seeks to promote recycling and sustainability while seeking to create greater equity amongst ratepayers.
Shire Waste Manager Ruth Levett said most local residents were increasingly recognising the importance of responsible waste management and living sustainably, but a few bad eggs were dumping their waste causing expensive clean up exercises.
“The Shire and the wonderful local community have made significant headway in getting our waste services more streamlined, user-friendly and equitable,” she said.
“There has been tremendous feedback and support regarding the bin audit, the introduction of Shire-wide tip passes and the expansion of the kerbside collection services.
“There is certainly no excuse to be dumping unwanted items in the bush, or on the side of the road, or on someone else’s land.
“We all have affordable and equitable access to waste facilities and services, under a fair and transparent user-pays system.
Ms Levett said more improvements are slated for 2018, including expanding the bin audit to commercial properties.
“Our very immediate goal is to drastically reduce the amount of waste going to landfill by reducing consumption in the first instance, and then reusing and recycling what is required to be used,” she said.
“This will obviously benefit the local environment and benefit us in the hip pocket by eventually resolve the need for a waste levy in our rates notice, saving ratepayers up to $200 per year.”
Ranger Coordinator Mick Reagan said he had met with surveillance officers in previous weeks to consider a strategy for catching offenders.
“The officers will be using cameras that can change automatically from day to night time to ensure we can capture evidence and identify people who offend at any time,” he said.
“Rangers will be vigilant in investigating all instances of dumped rubbish and pursuing prosecution where possible.
“We shouldn’t have anybody dumping rubbish in our Shire and effectively passing the responsibility of disposing of their waste onto someone else.”
Under the Litter Act 1979, the Shire works to clean up rubbish across the municipality and hold those who dump rubbish illegally accountable for their actions.
The maximum penalties for littering offences is $5000 for individuals and $10,000 for corporations.
Illegal dumping may be prosecuted under the Environmental Protection Act 1986, carrying a maximum penalty of $62,500 (individuals) and $125,000 (corporate bodies).
For more information on illegal dumping visit dwer.wa.gov.au
For more information on local waste and recycling services visit amrshire.wa.gov.au
To report dumped rubbish please phone 97805255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
PO Box 61
Margaret River WA 6285
41 Wallcliffe Road
Monday to Friday
Ph 08 9780 5255
Fax 08 9757 2512
66 Allnut Terrace
Monday to Friday
Ph 08 9780 5255
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