Bushfires veteran wants more risk management officers

Zach RelphCountryman
John Iffla, the former president of the Emergency Services Volunteer Association, speaks at the Newdegate meeting.
Camera IconJohn Iffla, the former president of the Emergency Services Volunteer Association, speaks at the Newdegate meeting. Credit: Zach Relph/Countryman

A former Emergency Services Volunteer Association president says up to 17 more bushfire risk management officers are needed to bolster WA’s bushfire mitigation.

John Iffla, a Bremer Bay farmer and an Emergency Services Medal recipient, warns the State needs to increase the number of bushfire risk management officers from eight to 25 officers.

In 2018, WA Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan said $1.1 million would employ eight permanent Department of Fire and Emergency Services bushfire risk management planning officers.

The DFES officers help local governments across WA develop bushfire risk management plans.

But Mr Iffla is calling for more officers.

The Bremer Bay volunteer firefighter, who delved into the concerns at last Tuesday’s WAFarmers meeting, said increasing the number of officers would improve regional towns’ bushfire preparation on the south coast.

“To make the plan work we need 25 risk management officers employed,” Mr Iffla said.

“We wanted the officers to be from bushfire backgrounds working in regional areas and working with volunteers on the bushfire mitigation plans.

“Unfortunately, the right amount of people haven’t been put on the ground.”

DFES confirmed the Boddington, Denmark, Jerramungup, Ravensthorpe, Wagin, West Arthur, Williams and Woodanilling shires were among local governments in the Great Southern and Upper Great Southern with endorsed bushfire risk management plans.

The City of Albany and shires of Cuballing, Esperance, Narrogin and Plantagenet are developing bushfire risk management plans.

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