DFES launch new Total Fire Ban scheme

PIC: File

The announcement will see people who ignore total fire bans targeted.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services have launched a new scheme aimed at educating West Aussies on the dangers of breaching total fire bans and catching and prosecuting serious offences. 

DFES records show almost one third of out of control fires started on Total Fire Ban days during the last bushfire season were result of banned fire activity. 

Anyone who ignores a Total Fire Ban or a Total Fire Ban exemption can be fined up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment for 12 months.

A Total Fire Ban is raised on days fires could be difficult to control due to extreme fire weather conditions or if there are widespread fires stretching firefighting resources. 

The ban prohibits lighting of any open air fires which includes deliberately lit fires, burn offs, cooking with open fire appliances, campfires, or carrying out business activities that could start a fire including incinerators, welding, grinding, soldering or gas cutting.

The new scheme will see DFES investigate these breaches and issue warning notices or take action to prosecute repeat offenders and serious offences. 

Department of Fire and Emergency Services Assistant Commissioner Country Operations Graham Swift said people breaching Total Fire Bans are putting the community at unnecessary risk.

"“These bans are issued to protect the community and our emergency services personnel from the devastating effect of bushfire so it is vital everyone acknowledges and adheres to a ban."

He also said using open air and outdoor fires for cooking or camping might seem innocent but when combined with conditions seen on days of a ban they have the potential to cause significant destruction. 

DFES will collaborate with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, WA Police and Local Governments who also have the authority to take action against Total Fire Ban breaches to ensure serious offences and repeat offenders are dealt with.

Total Fire Bans can be found the day before they come into effect on the states emergency website but could also be declared at any time if weather conditions call for it. 

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