Fire near Northcliffe 2015Bushfires

Bushfires are dangerous and are common in Western Australia. They can start without warning throughout the year and can spread rapidly on hot, windy days. Avoid the risk of bushfire by planning your visit during mild weather conditions. .

During bushfire season, for your safety, have a bushfire survival plan. Bushfires can pose extreme risk to visitors and must be avoided. Watch for signs of bushfire such as smoke and smell of burning bush. If you see or smell signs of a bushfire put your safety first and act now, monitor wind conditions, move to a safer place wherever possible, do not wait to see, the consequences can be catastrophic.

In case of bushfire call 000 (and/or local Parks and Wildlife office)

Listen for Bushfire Alerts (warnings) on the local ABC radio station.

Campgrounds and parks may be closed due to bushfire or an unacceptably high risk of bushfire.

Prepare. Act. Survive

Go to the Fire and Emergency Services website to download the Factsheet on travelling during a bushfire and get additional information so that you understand the risks and know what to do if you encounter a bushfire. Prepare a bushfire survival plan.  Radiant heat and smoke are likely to be your biggest hazards.

Bushfire Safety on Trails

To keep yourself safe during this bushfire season:

  • Plan your visits for cooler periods of the year, avoiding the hot summer months.
  • Check the Fire Danger Rating and do not go on or remain on the trails if the forecast is Very High or above.
  • Do not do extended multi-day trips as it is not possible to keep up with changing conditions (extremely limited mobile phone coverage) and it is difficult to self-evacuate from the trail at short notice.
  • Avoid remoter sections of the trail where there is limited vehicle access.
  • Abide by all trail closure signage, and any instructions from Parks and Wildlife and other emergency staff.

Trails and parks may be closed on days when the Fire Danger Rating is Very High or above. Check these websites when planning your walks:

The EmergencyAus app for Apple and Android provides up-to-date fire information.

If you encounter a bushfire on foot

  • Do not panic.
  • Do not try to outrun the fire.
  • Move across slopes.
  • Do not run uphill or away from the fire unless you are certain there is a refuge close nearby.
  • Avoid being caught near the top of a hill where the fire will move quickly and intensely up the slope. Avoid dense vegetation in gullies.
  • Look for a suitable escape path and walk briskly if there is a clear escape or move to clear or already burnt ground.
  • If in a group stay together.
  • Stay low and seek shelter behind a log, rocky outcrop, embankment or structure to protect yourself from radiant heat.
  • Use any time available to prepare the area surrounding you by removing flammable materials.
  • Run through flames only when they are less than one metre high, and only if you can see clearly what is on the other side of them.
  • Watch out for falling trees and branches.
  • If you intend to shelter in a structure, spend any available time removing flammable materials, like leaves, away from the structure.  
  • If the structure you are in catches alight and the conditions become unbearable, you need to get out and go to an area that has already been burnt.
  • If your clothes catch fire, don't run - stop, drop, cover your face and roll over and over to extinguish the flames.

If you encounter a bushfire while driving

If there is a lot of smoke:

  • Slow down and be aware that there could be people, vehicles and livestock on the road.
  • Turn car headlights and hazard lights on, close windows and outside vents.

If you cannot see clearly:

  • Pull over to the side of the road.
  • Stop your vehicle.
  • Keep your headlights and hazard lights on.
  • Wait until the smoke clears.

If you become trapped by a fierce fire:

  • Stay in your car.
  • Park in an area of low or no vegetation with the vehicle orientated towards the oncoming fire front.
  • Turn engine off.
  • Close the doors, windows and outside vents.
  • Lie on the floor and cover your body with any available woollen or cotton blankets or clothing.
  • Do not get out or open windows until the fire front has passed. The flash period is usually between 5 – 10 minutes in a forest fire or 2 minutes in a grass fire.
  • For emergency assistance call 000.

After the fire

Once the bushfire has passed, hazards still remain due to burning tree limbs, falling trees, hot ash beds or holes in the ground where trees once were.

Areas may remain closed after the fire has been put out and until the risk of tree fall and other hazards have been assessed and the area made safe.

Prescribed burns

Prescribed burning is the process of planning and applying fire to a predetermined area, under specific environmental conditions, to achieve a desired outcome.

Prescribed burn areas are indicated with 'Burn Imminent' signs so that visitors can avoid the area. Contact the local Parks and Wildlife office for information

On the day of the burn there will be fire and smoke. Access restrictions to all internal and some boundary roads and tracks will be in place with fire appliances (trucks and equipment) and staff moving around the area. Smoke is a hazard for traffic and can create respiratory problems for visitors. Avoid these areas during and immediately after the burn operation.

After the burn, there will be fire appliances and staff moving around the area for some time 'mopping up'  trees and stumps that are still burning. Trees and branches may fall or create airborne embers.

After the burn, areas may remain closed until the risk of tree fall and other hazards have been assessed and the area made safe.