In the Papers this Week November 28th 2011

Council Demands Fire “Answers”

As it shifted from “response” to “recovery” mode on Wednesday, the Augusta-Margaret River Shire Council has called for answers to questions regarding how the blaze, which destroyed nine holiday chalets and 34 houses, began. The Fire & Emergency Services and the Department of Environment & Conservation have admitted that the inferno, which also ravaged around 3700 hectares between Redgate Road and Gracetown, started in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park last Wednesday.

People Forced To Evacuate As Fire Rages

Residents of East Augusta and Molloy Island are being urged to evacuate the area as the fire continues to get out of control. A bushfire emergency warning was issued by the Fire & Emergency Service for people south of Governor Broome Rd. and east of Millyeannup Coast Rd. and in areas further west including East Augusta and Molloy Island in the Shires of Augusta-Margaret River and Nannup.  Houses in East Augusta and Molloy Island may be affected by fire that has destroyed over 38,000 hectares in one week.

Premier Promises Natural Disaster Aid

A State Natural Disaster aid has been promised by Premier Colin Barnett in fire-hit Margaret River. Mr. Barnett acknowledged that the impact of the blaze met the conditions to be declared a natural disaster for the WA Natural Disaster Relief & Recovery Arrangements. WANDRA is managed by FESA with assistance from other organisations, and provides support to those who have suffered directly from natural disasters.

Fire Fighters Applauded

Hundreds of fire controllers, many of them volunteers, placed their lives at risk to try and contain the blaze and save houses. Rob Bootsma, chief bushfire control officer for Augusta-Margaret River Shire, said they should be applauded for placing their lives in danger to save the area from devastation. He said that brigades from Cowaramup, Alexandra Bridge, Gracetown, East Augusta, Kudardup, Karridale, Rosa Brook, Molloy Island, Witchcliffe and Wallcliffe, worked round the clock, many in 24-hour shifts.

Event To Thank Volunteers

Shire residents can personally thank the hundreds of volunteer firefighters who assisted in the fire effort. Shire’s CEO Gary Evershed said that the council would hold a thank you event for volunteers next Monday at Gloucester Park oval, from 6pm to 8pm.  “Bring a picnic tea, something to drink and a blanket to Gloucester Park on Monday evening,” Evershed urged residents. He also said that the thank you event was originally planned for the volunteers only, but later the decision was taken to open it up for the community.

Plans Were Ready To Evacuate MR

Council CEO Gary Evershed said Monday that emergency plans to evacuate the Margaret River township were in place on Thursday last week, the worst day of bushfires. With winds of 65 km/hour swinging to north west from north east, the blaze was taxing resources on hand to contain it. Firefighters believed if they were unable to stop it fast, they wouldn’t have any other option but to evacuate the town.

About Benji

I am married and live on a farm near Margaret River with my wife, daughter and son. I set up The Margaret River Guide to assist people coming to Margaret River Western Australia to easily find what they are looking for. I also wanted to allow people to find activities they did not know about and to be able to openly comment on/ review businesses.

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