Bushfires are dangerous and common in Western Australia. They can start without warning throughout the year and can spread rapidly on hot, windy days. Avoid the risk of bushfire by planning your visit during mild weather conditions.
During bushfire season, for your safety, have a bushfire survival plan. Bushfires can pose extreme risk to visitors and must be avoided. Watch for signs of bushfire such as smoke and smell of burning bush. If you see or smell signs of a bushfire put your safety first and act now, monitor wind conditions, move to a safer place wherever possible, do not wait to see, the consequences can be catastrophic.
In case of bushfire call 000 (and/or local Parks and Wildlife office) or use the Emergency+ app. Download the app before your visit and use it in an emergency to call for assistance. If there is no mobile phone coverage you will not be able to call 000 but the app will provide you with your GPS location.
Listen for Bushfire Alerts (warnings) on the local ABC Radio station.
Campgrounds and parks may be closed due to bushfire or an unacceptably high risk of bushfire.
Prepare. Act. Survive
Go to Fire and Emergency Services to download the factsheet about travelling during a bushfire and other information so that you understand the risks and know what to do if you encounter a bushfire. Prepare a bushfire survival plan. Radiant heat and smoke are likely to be your biggest hazards.
Bushfire Safety on Trails
Bushfires can kill.
Do not rely on being rescued as emergency staff may not get to you in time. Do not put yourself and others at risk.
- Plan your walk for cooler times of the year, avoid the hot summer months when there is an increased risk of bushfires.
- Check the Fire Danger Rating and do not go onto or remain on trails if the Fire Danger Rating is Extreme or Catastrophic.
- Do not plan extended multi-day trips beyond the Fire Danger Rating forecast during summer as due to limited mobile phone coverage it is not always possible to keep updated with changing conditions.
- In very hot dry weather avoid more remote sections of trails where there is limited vehicle access.
- Abide by all trail closure signs and any instructions from Parks and Wildlife Service or other emergency staff.
Trails and parks may be closed on days when the Fire Danger Rating is Extreme or Catastrophic. Check these websites when planning your walks:
If you encounter a bushfire on foot
Bushfires are dangerous and common in Western Australia. They can start without warning throughout the year and can spread rapidly on hot and windy days. If conditions are too dangerous, rescuers will not be able to check trails and campsites.
PREPARE – Make a plan
Plan a route within your capabilities: Where will you go to? How far is it? How fast can you travel? Be certain you can reach your goal.
ACT – Don’t delay
Leave the trail if the Fire Danger Rating is Extreme or Catastrophic.
- If you see signs of a bushfire assess your situation: How close is it? Is the wind blowing it towards you?
- If the way is clear, escape to safer ground.
- If the way is not clear, prepare to shelter.
SURVIVE – Stay alert
- Use existing tracks and roads.
- Move to clear or burnt ground.
- Do not try to outrun the fire or escape uphill.
- Avoid the tops of hills and densely vegetated gullies.
Stay low and seek shelter behind a log or rocky outcrop, on a beach, or in a sufficiently large body of water to fully submerge (including a running river but not a water tank).
- Campsite buildings are not designed as a fire refuge, but they may be a safer place to stay than outside.
- Prepare your surroundings by removing leaves and branches.
- Cover yourself with wool or cotton. Avoid synthetics.
- Once the main fire front has passed, move to burnt ground.
If you encounter a bushfire while driving
If there is a lot of smoke:
- Slow down and be aware that there could be people, vehicles and livestock on the road.
- Turn car headlights and hazard lights on, close windows and outside vents.
If you cannot see clearly:
- Pull over to the side of the road.
- Stop your vehicle.
- Keep your headlights and hazard lights on.
- Wait until the smoke clears.
If you become trapped by a fierce fire:
- Stay in your car.
- Park in an area of low or no vegetation with the vehicle orientated towards the oncoming fire front.
- Turn engine off.
- Close the doors, windows and outside vents.
- Lie on the floor and cover your body with any available woollen or cotton blankets or clothing.
- Do not get out or open windows until the fire front has passed. The flash period is usually between 5 – 10 minutes in a forest fire or 2 minutes in a grass fire.
- For emergency assistance call 000.
After the fire
Once the bushfire has passed, hazards remain due to burning tree limbs, falling trees, hot ash beds or holes in the ground where trees once were.
Areas may remain closed after the fire has been put out and until the risk of tree fall and other hazards have been assessed and the area made safe.
Prescribed burns are undertaken for property protection, fuel reduction and biodiversity management. They are carefully planned to minimise disruption to visitors, but also must consider many other factors.
Where prescribed burns affect trails, closures and diversions are implemented to ensure the safety of trail users. Prescribed burns are dependent on appropriate weather conditions, so specific dates are not available in advance.
The decision to carry out a prescribed burn is made on the day.