By Claire Ottaviano
THE State’s peak-body for bushfire volunteers has launched its own inquiry into the Wooroloo Bushfire.
The Bushfire Volunteers Association is calling on volunteer and career firefighters, residents, local governments and members of the public to share their experiences before, during and after the devastating February 1 bushfire which destroyed 86 homes.
Bushfire Volunteers’ chief executive Darren Brown said the association had taken the unprecedented step of launching its own inquiry because members had expressed concern over the absence of a government inquiry.
“Important lessons can’t be learned if no one asks what worked and what didn’t,” Mr Brown said.
“It is universally accepted that one of the most effective ways to minimise the risk of and improve the response to major bushfires is to conduct timely, inclusive and honest reviews when they happen.
“The 2016 special inquiry into the Waroona-Yarloop fires is directly responsible for the most significant changes in government policy in living memory because it started before the fire was declared all clear, reported in a little over three months and actively sought feedback from everyone involved.”
The Association made a request for an inquiry on February 11.
“Memories fade, people move and interest wanes, so we are stepping in now to try to minimise any further loss of opportunity to listen to, and learn from, those with first-hand knowledge and experience,” Mr Brown said.
A government spokesperson told Echo News there would be a formal inquiry.
“The State Government is currently considering a framework for the inquiry, and will make an announcement in due course,” the spokesperson said.
“The Wooroloo Bushfires had a devastating impact and it has been a difficult time for the community, however it is important to get this right.”