Cyclone creates higher bushfire risk for the Pilbara

Shannon BeattiePilbara News
A satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Veronica over northern WA, March 21, 2019.
Camera IconA satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Veronica over northern WA, March 21, 2019. Credit: NASA Worldview, Earth Observing

Selected areas of the Pilbara are at a higher risk of bushfires this summer due to higher fuel loads generated from heavy rains brought in by Tropical Cyclone Veronica in March.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services warned Port Hedland and Whim Creek heading toward Karratha are in the high-risk category, while the rest of the Pilbara is as normal.

DFES Pilbara superintendent Peter McCarthy said above normal levels of growth in those areas would more easily support fires.

“It’s a heavier fuel load,” he said.

“It’s pretty green out there at the moment, but once it dries off in November and December, the fires will be more intense than usual if something does start through that area.”

The area affected by Cyclone Veronica is minor, with the majority being land and pastoral leases and only a small section being residential.

Mr McCarthy said the main thing people needed to do is make sure they have a plan.

“We have a five-minute fire chat on the DFES website which walks you through some important questions,” he said.

“People need to keep vigilant and report fires as soon as they see them because they can get big quickly up here, especially on the windy days.”

The region will be supported by extra firefighting resources this season, which will be moved around as conditions change.

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