- State Government launches inquiry into Wooroloo Bushfire
- Independent review will be undertaken by the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council
The State Government has launched an independent review into the devastating Wooroloo Bushfire which destroyed 86 homes.
The inquiry will be led by the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council (AFAC), which recently conducted an independent review into the Tasmanian bushfires.
The Wooroloo Bushfire started on February 1, 2021, while Perth was under a COVID-19 lockdown, and spread rapidly towards the west through northern parts of the Perth Hills. The fire impacted communities in the City of Swan and the Shire of Mundaring, burning through more than 10,000 hectares.
The independent inquiry will analyse information gathered during the first stage of the review of the Wooroloo Bushfire. It will examine a range of areas including the bushfire response, fuel management and mitigation activities and communications. (See terms of reference below.)
Submissions will be invited from August 20, 2021, and will close on September 24, 2021.
Details on the submission process will be made available soon.
Comments attributed to Emergency Services Minister Reece Whitby:
“The McGowan Government has done significant work to reduce the risk and impact of bushfires, but we can’t stop them all.
“The inquiry will examine the circumstances surrounding the Wooroloo Bushfire and the response to it.
“In any major emergency there are lessons to be learned. The State Government is committed to learning as much as possible about the Wooroloo Bushfire to see if any improvements can be made in the future.”
Comments attributed to Swan Hills MLA Jessica Shaw:
“This was a devastating event and an independent inquiry will be an important part of our community’s healing.
“I know there will be a high level of interest in this inquiry and I welcome the release of the terms of reference.
“I will be making a submission and I strongly encourage members of the community to consider doing so.”
2021 Wooroloo Bushfire Review
Terms of Reference
The review will acknowledge the ongoing Action Plan for Bushfire Framework Review and will cover the following aspects as relevant to the 2021 Wooroloo Bushfire:
- Evaluate the first stage of the review of the Wooroloo Bushfire and undertake independent analysis across the range of focus areas examined, including response to the Wooroloo Bushfire, fuel management and processes for access into the fire affected areas.
- Examine the effectiveness of the use of heavy earthmoving equipment in the fire suppression effort including the systems, processes and capability that supports this.
- Examine the effectiveness of interagency coordination during the response and initial recovery phases of the incident.
- Consider the effectiveness of the impact assessment processes employed in informing early and timely recovery efforts and consider the effectiveness of the recovery function post response phase.
- Consider the extent, geographic range, method, effectiveness and duration of public warnings.
- Examine the effectiveness of the ‘Animal Welfare in Emergencies’ program as implemented by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.
- Consider the meteorological aspects of the fire as examined by the Bureau of Meteorology.
- Provide a means for members of the public and other interested parties to make submissions to the Review and give these due regard in compiling its report.
- Consider any other matter that the Review Team identifies in its course of activities.