By Melissa Moyle
Perth’s earliest 30-degree spring day in 120 years could be a timely warning to Hills’ residents of another hot summer and possibly a bumper fire season.
Already, prescribed burns are underway near Perth to prepare the area for potential fires.
Prescribed burning is conducted three times a year in autumn, winter and spring to prepare the bushland for Perth’s scorching summer.
Department of Parks and Wildlife district fire coordinator Michael Pasotti said controlled burning provides additional protection to the Hills’ surrounding areas including Kalamunda, Lesmurdie, Mundaring and Pickering Brook.
Mr Pasotti said while there have been some hot spring days already, the same precautions are taken every year.
The burning off is a long-term program which has a cumulative effect by gradually reducing the fuel load on which bushfires are nourished.
“Basically we are preparing for summer in 10 years, not the coming one. Perth summer is always hot and there is always a fire risk, burning off is done every year in high density bush areas,” he said.
Some residents have taken to preparing their homes with new fire sprinkler systems to minimise the impact of bushfires.
“Absolutely any minimising is good, but it will not cover your house completely,” said Mr Pasotti.
Lesmurdie resident Charlie Cuomo installed a fire sprinkler system at his home after seeing them showcased on the ABC Inventors Program.
Mr Cuomo’s system is similar to a lawn sprinkler run off a conventional hose system and connected to the roof.
“It sits on top of the tiles on the roof, but is a safety net if you’re in the vicinity of a fire … it will stop sparks in the air from catching in the gutters,” he said.
Bushfires cause significant damage in Western Australia.
According to a 2015 Climate Council report, in January 2014 bushfires in Perth Hills burnt a total of 650 hectares of land and caused $15 million in damage.