'This is a constant threat': Fuel load raises fire fears

'Constant threat': Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup and Erskine residents are advocating for the government to clear excess fuel load at Len Howard Conservation Park before a bushfire occurs. Photo: Supplied.
'Constant threat': Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup and Erskine residents are advocating for the government to clear excess fuel load at Len Howard Conservation Park before a bushfire occurs. Photo: Supplied.

Erskine residents continue to raise concerns about dangerous fuel loads at Len Howard Conservation Park with the Department of Parks and Wildlife.

This renewed plea comes following a significant bushfire, which burnt through the area for two days at the end of last year.

Erskine resident Garry McCarthy said many of the residents had been asking for the fuel load to be cleared for over a decade.

"When the fire broke out my wife was in hospital getting treatment and I got an urgent call to get home because we had to evacuate the house.

"We don't need to live with these threats; there's people in the street that have trees across the road, if they catch on fire they aren't even going to be able to get out of their house.

"This is a constant threat this fire hazard - something should be done before there is a disaster."

Erskine resident Garry McCarthy with Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup. Photo: Supplied.

Erskine resident Garry McCarthy with Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup. Photo: Supplied.

Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup, who has been advocating for the fuel load clearance, said the issue needed to be resolved to keep residents safe.

"We've been fighting for some time now to make sure we can clear out this area together with the Department of Parks and Wildlife and we continue to be ignored," he said.

"We know just a couple of weeks ago there was a significant bushfire that came through here that took a number of helicopters and firefighters to respond to it - it burnt for two days and it's largely because of the bushfire load that exists here.

"We are coming up to a very risky bushfire season this year and we need to make sure we have every opportunity to help keep residents...safe."

According to a Department of Parks and Wildlife spokesperson, there had been "prescribed burns in sections of Len Howard Conservation Park to reduce fuel loads in May 2018".

"There are no prescribed burns planned for other sections of the park at this time," the spokesperson said.

"The bushfire risk in Len Howard Conservation Park will continue to be managed through maintenance of public access areas and where appropriate, the removal of excess fuels such as grass and leaf materials."

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Mr Kirkup said the department had agreed to help residents organise a busy bee a couple of years ago to remove some of the excess fuel load but more needed to be done.

"We have been here for a busy bee a couple years ago to reduce the fuel load but it isn't good enough we need the government to step up," he said.

"Correspondence we've had from the minister is that this area here is too close to the estuary and it was a saline environment so it wouldn't burn - we know that's obviously not the case as it did burn."