Shire of Dandaragan Fire Weather Zones Map Released

Published on Friday, 13 November 2020 at 9:57:57 AM

At the Shire's Bushfire Advisory Committee Meeting earlier this year, it was confirmed that the Shire would reintroduce four fire weather zones for the next fire season.

Fire weather zones are a way of separating the Shire into four weather zones for the purpose of implementing Harvest and Total Vehicle Movement Bans (HVMB), which are the responsibility of Local Government.

Harvest and Total Vehicle Movement Bans (HVMB) are implemented when weather conditions result in the Grassland Fire Danger Index reaching 35 or above. The Grassland Fire Danger Index (GFDI) represents how difficult a fire could be to control and is based on temperature, relative humidity,  curing rate and wind speed. When the GFDI reaches these levels the use of engines, vehicles, plant or machinery in paddocks, crops and bushland presents significant bushfire risk.

In recent years the Shire has not used multiple fire weather zones when implementing HVMB and has used a blanket approach of implementing the HVMB across the entire Shire. The use of a single zone encompassing the entire Shire has been effective from an implementation perspective but has created some operational problems. Of particular concern has been the widely varying weather conditions across the Shire at any given point in time. Given the Shire covers in excess of 6000 square kilometres, weather conditions in the north eastern quadrant of the Shire may be severe and easily reaching the GFDI threshold of 35 or above requiring the implementation of a Total Vehicle Movement and Harvest Ban, while in the South East quadrant the weather conditions may be quite mild and not reaching the GFDI threshold required for a HVMB. Under the current single weather zone system when any area of the Shire reaches the threshold the entire Shire is placed under ban. The single zone system has therefore been an effective tool in managing the fire risk but has also impeded parts of the Shire operationally, particularly during the harvest period.

The implementation of 4 distinct Fire Weather Zones in the Shire will allow the implementation of a HVMB in an individual zone, in multiple zones, or all zones dependent on the weather being experienced in each zone. This will deliver greater flexibility and allow harvesting operations to continue in zones that are not experiencing severe weather.

The break up of the zones is now:

  • Northwest Zone
  • Southwest Zone
  • Northeast Zone
  • Southeast Zone

Each zone will have a Fire Weather Officer appointed who will liaise with the Chief Bushfire Control Officer and the Shires Emergency Management Coordinator on the calling of HVMB for their respective zones. As is currently the practice the implementation of a HVMB will be communicated via the Shires SMS system for those who have completed the Shire's Harvest and Total Vehicle Movement application form.  It will also be communicated via the Shire's website and Facebook page.

Please see the map below which shows the 4 zones inclusive of their boundaries.

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