- $1,000 on-the-spot fines introduced for Total Fire Ban breaches
- New penalty to deter people who put life and property at risk
People who ignore Total Fire Bans face tough new penalties with the introduction of a $1,000 on-the-spot fine under the McGowan Labor Government.
Last bushfire season, 76 fires started on Total Fire Ban days as a result of people ignoring the ban and undertaking activities such as burn offs, campfires and using machinery that creates a spark such as angle grinding or welding.
Total Fire Bans are declared on days when fires will be very difficult to control and are most likely to threaten lives and property because there is extreme fire weather or widespread bushfires that are seriously stretching firefighting resources.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services; the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions; WA Police and local governments all have the authority to issue penalties.
Agencies can also take further action to prosecute repeat offenders or more serious offences with a fine of up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment for 12 months.
Total Fire Bans prohibit lighting open air fires which includes deliberately lit fires, burn offs, cooking with open-fire appliances or campfires; or carrying out business activities that could start a fire including incinerators, welding, grinding, soldering or gas cutting.
To find out if a Total Fire Ban has been declared in your area visit the Emergency WA website at https://www.emergency.wa.gov.au, call the Total Fire Ban hotline on 1800 709 355 or follow DFES on Twitter or Facebook.
As noted by Emergency Services Minister Francis Logan:
“Total Fire Bans are issued to protect the community and our emergency services personnel on days when weather conditions will make bushfires extremely hard to control or firefighting resources are stretched.
“During the 2016-17 bushfire season almost one-third of out of control fires on Total Fire Ban days started as a result of banned fire activities – this is unacceptable and we are taking a tougher stance on people who ignore Total Fire Bans this summer.
“Ignorance isn’t an excuse when it comes to Total Fire Bans, everyone has to play their part and take responsibility for keeping the community safe.
“The introduction of the $1,000 on-the-spot fine means the penalty in Western Australia for breaching a Total Fire Ban is now in line with other States and will hopefully help reduce the risk of devastating bushfires this summer.”