Mitigation works have commenced in the South West region where 30 high risk sites have been identified, forming part of Arc Infrastructure’s network-wide plan to reduce the risk of bushfire and appropriately manage rail corridor land.
Together with contracted fire assessment and mitigation specialists Working on Fire, Arc Infrastructure hosted a tour of the sites throughout the rail corridor where fire mitigation works had been undertaken.
The purpose of the tour was to share data and information gathered during a network-wide assessment of bushfire risk, as well as learnings and techniques from the program, with local governments and bushfire planners in the south west region.
Arc Infrastructure’s environmental specialist John Morrell said it’s important to balance the need to mitigate bushfire risk with the protection of environmental values.
“We want to reduce the risk of fire and we also want to ensure we are minimising environmental harm, so that we are protecting the environment whilst still ensuring a fire starting in one of the high risk areas could be easily controlled,” Mr Morrell said.
Before carrying out any mitigation works, the Arc Infrastructure team works with the appropriate agencies to ensure all relevant approvals and permits are obtained and environmentally sensitive areas, such as those containing native vegetation and threatened flora, are protected and managed appropriately.
“We’re conscious that the South West of our state is a tourism hotspot and an area known for its natural beauty. It’s an area where people really value the natural environment and we want to preserve this.
"Through increased collaboration and greater sharing of bushfire management data, learnings and techniques, we hope to achieve far better outcomes for all parties involved, the environment and the whole community,” he said.
CEO Waroona Shire Mr Ian Curley said the work that Arc Infrastructure has carried out will greatly help to protect the town sites of Hamel and Waroona from fire, and is welcomed by the community, particularly after the devastating effects of the 2016 Waroona Harvey bushfires.
“We hope that other agencies will see this as an example of what can be one to help prepare for the bushfire season in rural areas,” Mr Curley said.
Working on Fire has worked closely with Arc Infrastructure’s environmental team, as well as local maintenance teams, rail network control, and other local contractors to undertake the bushfire mitigation works.
Mitigation works will continue at various sites along the rail corridor within the Shires of Murray, Harvey, Collie, Dardanup, Donnybrook Balingup, Bridgetown-Greenbushes, and Manjimup once relevant environmental and government approvals have been obtained.
Arc Infrastructure recently donated $30,000 to the WA Volunteer First & Rescue Services Association
to create a Youth Leadership Program and Youth Skills Scholarship to attract new generations to volunteer.
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