When a bushfire starts, things can change in a matter of minutes.

Stay connected during a bushfire

When a bushfire starts, things can change in a matter of minutes. So you need to keep connected and updated regularly during bushfire season.

By being alert and following official warnings on Emergency WA closely, you and your family have the best chance to act early and leave for a safer place.

If you decide to stay and defend your property, be aware that this will take enormous effort, both physically and emotionally, and you need to be very well prepared. Trying to leave when it’s too late is extremely dangerous.

Leaving early for a safer place

Remember: No warning system is foolproof! If there is a bushfire in your area, put your Bushfire Plan into place immediately rather than waiting for a warning text because you may not get one.

Are you prepared to stay and defend?

You will need to put in huge physical and mental efforts for many hours to actively defend your property before, during and after a fire. Conditions will be unbearably hot. Your home is your best protection in a bushfire ONLY if it is well constructed, maintained and prepared.

Most homes lost in bushfires are set alight by burning embers. Burning embers are around before, during, and up to several hours after the fire front has passed your property. So be prepared to put out spot fires caused by embers and you may save your home and other buildings.

You may decide to stay and defend if:

Remember that waiting to leave until the very last minute is extremely dangerous. You will face smoke, noise, heat, flames, panic on the roads and emergency service vehicles dealing with the fire. It is much safer to stay in your home than to flee as a fire approaches.

Sheltering in your home

This should be your last option. However, bushfires are very unpredictable, so even if you don’t intend to stay and defend your property, you need to be well prepared to shelter in your home when plans fail and you can no longer leave safely.

Remain in your home while the fire front is passing, and shelter in a room furthest from the fire front. Make sure the room has at least two ways to get outside, and has a water supply. People have died sheltering in rooms without a second exit door.

Prepare to shelter
If you have to evacuate

Safer places in a bushfire

Your bushfire survival plan should identify a place where you and your family can go to shelter as a last resort when it’s no longer safe to stay and actively defend your home. Consider places such as a local open space, a dam or a beach.

Remember that safer places do not guarantee safety in all circumstances. Safer places may not provide shelter from bushfire elements such as flying embers and heat.

Tips for planning your safer place
When you reach your safe place

Evaporative air conditioners

If you live within 500 metres of bushland and have a roof-mounted evaporative air conditioning unit, your home may be at increased risk of ember attack. Embers are pieces of burning bark, leaves or twigs carried by the wind during a bushfire.

Embers can get into your air conditioning unit and start a fire in your roof space that spreads rapidly throughout your home. An ember protection screen can reduce your risk and help save your property.

Take action when there is smoke nearby

  • Run the air conditioner to wet the filter pads.
  • Switch the unit off when smoke is over your home or ash starts to drop around your house.
  • If possible, continue to run water over the filter with the fan turned off.
  • If water can’t be run on its own, or there’s a power failure, wet the filter pads using a garden hose.
  • Keep checking your air conditioner and the area around your home for spot fires from embers until the danger has passed.

More Information

Recovering from a bushfire

In the wake of a bushfire, it can be incredibly daunting to return home.

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Bushfire Centre of Excellence

An education hub where bushfire management personnel can come together for training and learning.

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Bushfire prone areas

Find out if your property is located in a bushfire prone area and view the planning requirements.

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Total fire ban

A Total Fire Ban is declared when a fire is likely to spread rapidly.

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Planned burning

The process of planning and applying fire to a predetermined area.

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Rural and farm fire

Bushfire risk when you live in a rural or farming area.

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Support for at risk communities

Ensure the safety of direct care workers, staff, and in-home clients.

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Bushfire publications

View and download bushfire manuals, guides and publications.

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Bushfire overview

To survive a bushfire you must be prepared to make your own decisions.

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Prepare for a bushfire

Having a bushfire plan in place will help you make better decisions.

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