bushfire risk: ‘fuel load is key’

Frank McKinnell

Dr Frank McKinnell from Bushfire Front in the Glen Forrest bush

[Video] Glen Forrest resident and Bushfire Front spokesperson Dr Frank McKinnell says prescribed burns are key to reducing fuel loads and decreasing the risk of  catastrophic fire.

Dr McKinnell, who has over 40 years experience of bushfire management and research says, “In bad fire weather a big fuel load could lead to a crown fire similar to the Victorian fires.”

Bushfire Front is an advocacy group set up by former foresters and fire professionals to promote and advance bushfire prevention policy in Western Australia. Bushfire Front also promotes bushfire awareness, education and action through their website bushfirefront.com.au.

“We’re concerned about the Hills region because there’s the potential here for a major fire disaster of Victorian magnitude” , said Dr McKinnell. ” I also have a particular, personal focus because I live in the Hills”, he says.

Dr McKinnell wants Hills residents to appreciate the ‘scatter of residential areas in a forest environment is a highly dangerous situation’.

“Heavy fuel loads mean high intensity fires and in bad fire weather, heavy fuels have the potential to generate an unstoppable crown fire.”

Dr McKinnell recommends the FESA Bushfire Survival Manual (download) as a guide to preparing your property. “We all need to do more to reduce fuels in our area, on our own blocks and in the other areas (Crown and shire reserves).”

crown fire occurs during fires of extreme intensity. A crown fire is when fire burns and spreads through the crown or canopy of trees. The influence of wind is greater in the tree canopy and where this canopy is interconnected or continuous, fires can spread incredibly quickly.


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