There has been confusion in the past when it comes to Total Fire Bans and Harvest and Movement Bans this page is to try to help to clarify it for you:

Total Fire Bans

These are issued by Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) on days where a fire is most likely to spread rapidly (because of extreme fire weather) or if there are already widespread fires and we don’t have the resources to fight more. The lighting of open-air fires or any other activity in the open air that is likely to cause a fire is banned. Total Fire Bans affect everyone.

How do I know if a Total Fire Ban has been declared?

  • Check the Emergency WA Website - www.emergency.wa.gov.au
  • Call the Total Fire Ban Hotline on 1800 709 355
  • Call 13 DFES (133 337)
  • Follow DFES on Facebook or Twitter
  • Listen to ABC local radio and other media outlets

What you need to know about Total Fire Bans

  • TFBs are announced either in the afternoon, the day before, or on the actual day.
  • TFBs affect farmers, campers, construction workers and residents (urban and rural).
  • TFBs usually start at midnight and last for 24 hours.
  • The need for the ban is assessed throughout the day and may be cancelled depending on conditions.
  • Exemptions can be granted for some industries and activities.
  • Any burning permits held by residents or landowners are fully suspended until the ban is over.
  • TFBs are declared using the whole government body.

Can I drive a vehicle (4WD, motorbike or quad bike) where the vehicle will be in contact with vegetation during a Total Fire Ban?

No.  During a Total Fire Ban you cannot use a vehicle in the bush or a paddock (off-road).  You can only use a vehicle on a road, track or in an area which has been sufficiently cleared of flammable material.

There are exceptions where the activity is occurring as part of an agricultural activity, if the local government has not implemented a Harvest Vehicle Movement Ban during the Total Fire Ban.

There are also further exceptions for business, industry and public authorities, as long as the conditions prescribed in the Bush Fires Regulations 1954 are complied with, which include notifying DFES.

Click on the link below to find more information on Total Fire Bans:

DFES Total Fire Ban Fact Sheet

Total fire ban - Department of Fire and Emergency Services (dfes.wa.gov.au)

Harvest Vehicle Movement Bans

Harvest Vehicle Movement Bans are put in place by the local government of the area.

They are only initialised after some weather tests have been taken by the Chief Bush Fire Control Officer including:

  • Wind
  • Wind Gusts
  • Humidity
  • Temperature
  • Fuel Load/Curing

If these readings are above a certain level then a Harvest Vehicle Movement Ban must be declared.

There is no time frame for a Harvest Vehicle Movement Ban as conditions can change without warning so it gets reviewed regularly.

Notification of status including the declaration and lifting of a Harvest Vehicle Movement Ban in the Shire of Northampton is via SMS which anyone can sign up to by ringing the Northampton Shire (9934 1202) and leaving your details, there is no charge for this service.  You will receive notifications on Harvest Vehicle Movement Bans, Road Closures and other important information from the Shire.

If you ignore a Harvest Vehicle Movement Ban and cause a fire it could render your insurance invalid and attract a fine ($25,000) and/or conviction.

The only exception to a Harvest Vehicle Movement Ban is to tend to stock or welfare of animals.

For further information call the Chief Bush Fire Control Officer - Rob McKenzie on 0458 341 200

Western Power and How these Conditions Affect Electricity Reinstatement Works

How Western Power find and address the cause of outages is also restricted when the Department of Fire and Emergency Services declares Total Fire Bans and local authorities declare Harvest Vehicle Movement Bans.  When this happens, we have to wait for bushfire risk conditions to ease or the bans to be lifted before we can patrol the powerline or attempt to restore power.  This means you may be without power for an extended period of time, possibly until late in the evening.

Fire Weather Day

This is something Western Power enforce when the Fire Danger Rating is forecast to be Very High or greater.  Western Power take extra precautions to minimise the risk of their activities generating a spark, which could start a fire that might be difficult to control.

Total Fire Ban

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services declare this for days when fires are most likely to threaten lives and property.  Western Power approach days like these just as they would of a Fire Weather Day.

Harvest Vehicle Movement Ban

Issued by local authorities, this places a higher restriction on our activities.  It is declared when the use of engines, vehicles, plant or machinery (including mobile generators) is likely to cause a fire or contribute to the spread of a bushfire.  When this happens, Western Power can't use vehicles to patrol faults in bushfire areas, which may delay restoring your power.

For more information please visit the Bushfire Safety page on Western Powers website.

https://www.westernpower.com.au/safety/bushfire-safety/

Click on the link below to view Western Powers brochure on Fire Safety

Putting Safety First in Bushfire Season

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