Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson praises firefighters on visit to Wheatbelt

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenGreat Southern Herald
DFES commissioner Darren Klemm with Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson at a press conference in Narrogin.
Camera IconDFES commissioner Darren Klemm with Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson at a press conference in Narrogin. Credit: Sean Van Der Wielen/Great Southern Herald

Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson has praised firefighters for their response to this week’s bushfires as conditions ease on the firegrounds.

Mr Dawson and DFES Commissioner Darren Klemm met with local firefighters in Narrogin on Tuesday after flying over the fire ground.

He said WA’s emergency services had “done an outstanding job” battling the weekend’s fires, managing to save grain facilities as well as many farmhouses.

“There was an extraordinary effort put in by farmers and just local communities generally,” he said.

“It was everybody from the farmers fighting fire to in some cases the CWA cooking meals and sandwiches, local government staff are out and the multitude of volunteers from the SES and from bushfire brigades were all out there.”

Mr Klemm acknowledged the challenging conditions crews had faced.

“In Corrigin, it was an incredibly fast moving fire up there,” he said.

“At one point, there was nearly 35km of running fire in really difficult conditions, with winds up to 85km/h.”

He commended the efforts of staff at a piggery near Narrogin for their efforts to save their livestock.

“Our thoughts go with them at what must have been an incredibly difficult situation but their efforts have meant there have been some significant saves out there,” Mr Klemm said

It was a mixed day across the region, with residents in Dumbleyung, Wickepin, Dongolocking, Kukerin, Tincurrin and Collanilling told to only use scheme water for essential purposes after extensive damage was done to the water pipeline between Wickepin and Dumbleyung.

Further north, Western Power was able to restore power in Corrigin after the bushfire-induced outages.

Mr Dawson revealed he had got in touch with Federal Emergency Services Minister Bridget McKenzie’s office on Monday after receiving complaints about the reliability of mobile phone coverage during emergency situations.

“We are hearing the frustrations of a number of local shires and people on the ground who have experienced telecommunications failures over the last few days, so my commitment is to work with the Commonwealth to make sure we can get this fixed for the future,” he said.

Mr Dawson asked anyone who required assistance to seek it out.

““The last few days were difficult but the next few weeks when we start the recovery, probably even more difficult and the months ahead will be challenging,” he said

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