Safe areas for cars needed, as fire season approaches

CONCERNS: Bordertown CFS group officer Darryl Napper voiced his concerns about the lack of safe areas for cars to pull off.
CONCERNS: Bordertown CFS group officer Darryl Napper voiced his concerns about the lack of safe areas for cars to pull off.

As the weather throughout the Tatiara continues to get warmer, the threat of potential fires increases.

At a recent council meeting, Bordertown CFS group officer Darryl Napper voiced his concerns about the lack of safe areas for cars to pull off on many of the district's regional roads.

"If we were to have a fire here in the next month or six weeks, there is no safe areas where cars can pull off anywhere along the highway and even the back roads," Mr Napper said.

He praised council for some of the changes it has made in recent times, but reiterated that not enough was being done to fully prevent potential issues.

"It's good to see this year that they're finally spraying on the edges of roads, I have been pushing that for a long time," Mr Napper said.

"But it's nowhere near enough - any road you can drive on, I am a stock agent so I drive nearly every back road and main road, there's vegetation right to the edge."

Mr Napper said the time of the year the council does its mowing is too early, saying by November most of the vegetation has already grown back.

The main concern raised from the discussion was the lack of designated safe area for cars to pull off.

"The option around it is where you have a major intersection, bare out an area so that it is a safe area where cars can pull off - I don't want to deal with anyone losing their life," Mr Napper said.

Cr Miles Hannemann raised concerns about roads with cable barriers, pointing out there are roads near Keith where they can last for around 2km.

Mr Napper said the cables were doing their job of saving lives, but they did create a problem of trapping firetrucks, and putting firefighters' lives at risk.

"They are doing their job in saving lives - so we've got to create a safe area, that might mean cleaning some vegetation out so that every case you know you have a safe area," Mr Napper said.

He mentioned in the past they would burn sections of the road for training purposes, but new Environment Protection Authority laws have changed that.

Council's director of infrastructure and operations Aaron Hillier said he has spoken to the Native Vegetation Council and there is a formal process followed to perform the burning.

"There is a formal process that you (Darryl) can go through, so if you did have strategic locations you could complete a native vegetation survey and then applying through the Native Vegetation Council to actually clear the vegetation," Mr Hillier said.

Mr Hillier said he was unsure how much it would cost to conduct the survey, but it was something council could consider.

After a lengthy discussion, Mr Napper stated he appreciated the council's concern, but it was something that needed to be thought about before another destructive fire potentially emerged in the summer.

Council thanked Mr Napper for his talk, and promised to take his request on board.