A HILLS’ resident is calling on authorities to take action to reduce the fuel load on a reserve surrounding homes in Darlington labelling the area a major fire risk.
Andrew, who did not want his surname published, has lived on the same Darlington property for 35 years, and said until two years ago firebreaks were maintained religiously on the land adjoining Nan Macmillan Reserve near Marnie Rd.
“Now the responsibility for managing the reserve has shifted from the Metropolitan Region Planning Authority to the Department of Parks and Wildlife and the firebreaks have not been done in years,” he said.
“Rangers have taken pictures of the bushland and ruled it is not compliant.
“This reserve backs on to a row of houses and the amount of leaf litter is a disaster waiting to happen.
“It is not acceptable that basic work to reduce the fuel load has not been carried out.”
Andrew said given residents were inundated with the message that protecting homes from bushfires was a shared responsibility, it was disappointing a government agency was not meeting its responsibility.
“Residents for the most part are doing the right thing and clearing their blocks, and then behind us is a reserve that has been let go.
“It would appear the State Government has not learnt from the devastating Parkerville bushfires in 2014.
“If this was my block I would have been summoned and appeared in court.”
Shire of Mundaring chief executive officer Jonathan Throssell said so far this year 113 notices had been issued to landholders who had failed to comply with the Firebreak and Fuel Load Notice (Bushfires Act 1954).
“Fire Hazard Inspection Officers and rangers are working closely with these landowners to ensure the works are carried out,” he said.
“If this does not happen landowners may be infringed or prosecuted.”
Mr Throssell said firebreaks were regularly maintained on the adjoining Nan MacMillan Reserve.
“Existing firebreaks are maintained on a regular basis and over the past four years there have been over 14 treatments ranging from complete upgrades to ongoing pruning and access works,” he said.
“Reserves are managed holistically to keep hazards at levels appropriate for the land parcel involved, and in such a condition as to make the management and response to incidents of unplanned fire possible by available resources.
“Since Fire Protection Officers were employed, the reserve has been subjected to over 30 treatments ranging from firebreak upgrades to weed removal and hazard reduction burns including 10 hectares of hazard reduction burns in 2016.”
The Department of Parks and Wildlife has been contacted for comment.
By Sarah Brookes