Greenie forest management behind fires again

A local council at the centre of Perth's bushfire disaster has admitted it implemented a strict "no controlled burning" policy for more than a decade over large tracts of managed bushland that fuelled Sunday's devastating firestorm.

As police last night charged an off-duty police officer with starting the blaze by using an angle grinder during a total fire ban, the City of Armadale - deemed one of the state's most fire-prone local government areas - confirmed the heavily vegetated Lloyd Hughes Park had been subject to the strict ban since at least February 7, 2000, when the current management plan was adopted by the council.

With public anger also growing over the reliability of early warning systems and the general handling of the emergency by various authorities, the final tally of destroyed homes has been put at 72.

Late yesterday, Robert James Stevens, 56, was charged by summons under the WA Bushfires Act with carrying out an activity in the open air that causes or is likely to cause a fire. Mr Stevens, who is on leave, faces fines up to $25,000 or 12 months jail, and will appear in court on March 15.

There were fears for his safety after he went missing following the revelation that an off-duty policeman had started the devastating blaze accidentally.

But Mr Stevens reportedly contacted police today and was questioned by officers before being charged, PerthNow reports.
Yesterday, the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) said it was powerless to impose its 8 per cent burning targets on parks controlled by councils or private landholders, whose awareness of fire risks was "highly variable".

DEC fire services manager Murray Carter defended the organisation's management of Banyowla Regional Park which also went up in flames, adding that fire-risk management was difficult when responsibility fell to multiple authorities and individuals with differing views.


No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments containing Chinese characters will not be published as I do not understand them