Latest fire information
Looking after people in fire affected areas
We recognise that talking with family, friends and your local community are very important after experiencing fire. After any major fire, there will also be local support and services developed, and we recommend using that support as early as possible.
Please look at the WA rural support services directory to choose ongoing support services that suit your situation.
Recovering after fire - services and support
- DFES Recovering from a bushfire
- Emergency WA Recovery
- information for areas affected by the Wooraloo fire
- what you can do after an emergency
- who can help after an emergency
- Rural Financial Counselling of Western Australia: 1800 612 004
- Crisis Care: 1800 199 008
- Regional Men's Health Initiative: 9690 2277
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements
Visit the Disaster recovery funding arrangements Western Australia page for updated information.
Assistance is also available for individuals and families, small businesses and local governments. More information on these can be found on the Western Australian Department of the Premier and Cabinet website and on the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website.
Safely entering your property after a bushfire
Your property is likely to be in a restricted access area – a designated area within an incident area – immediately after a fire.
Only an authorised person can enter a restricted access area for a period of time and for a specific purpose.
Residents, business owners, utility companies or other approved people can apply for a restricted access permit to:
- activate their emergency plan
- collect valuables and pets
- transport various commodities, such as milk, water, stock feed and store supplies
- tend to livestock
- undertake other approved activities.
For more information about restricted access permits, visit the Department of Fire and Emergency Services website.
Hazards on your property after a bushfire
Houses, sheds and other buildings or structures that are burnt in a bushfire can leave potential health hazards, including asbestos, in the remaining rubble and ash.
The Department of Health supplies these guides:
- Hazards on your property after a bushfire (PDF)
- Guidance note on managing fire-damaged asbestos
- Asbestos fire contamination.
This information is derived from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES). The retardants used in large fires are not hazardous, but contaminated water and infrastructure should be flushed clean.
For full details, read Use of retardant during firefighting operations from DFES.
For more information about how fire retardants work, and the mixes used for different aerial applications see the PHOS-CHeK long-term retardants web page (external)
Fire retardants used in large fires are essentially fertilisers, and are often coloured with a red iron oxide ('rust') pigment to see where the retardant has been applied. The retardants are ammonium and diammonium sulphate and ammonium phosphate, mixed with water into a slurry and sprayed onto foliage from a helicopter or winged plane.
- There is no evidence of significant effects of the sprayed retardant on birds or other land animals.
- Some native plants may have low-level damage to fresh growth ('fertiliser burn').
- Aquatic plants and animals are more sensitive to the chemicals used, and concentration in water bodies or waterways may cause deaths. If possible when fighting large fires, pilots try not to apply fire retardants within 100 metres of waterways.
- The sprayed material is unlikely to cause skin or respiratory irritation, as it is adhered to foliage and other surfaces. Rain will remove the chemicals from foliage and move it into the soil, where it is used by plants and soil organisms.
- If retardants enter a rainwater tank (from roofs with residue), we recommend emptying the contaminated tank, flushing it out with fresh water, and following the guidelines for 'first rains' in the rainwater tanks web page. The contaminated water will not be suitable for human or animal drinking, but can be discharged onto the garden or used for firefighting. Do not dispose of the contaminated tank water where it could enter creek lines or dams.
When moving sheep, cattle and goats out of the fire zone, owners should contact DPIRD's National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) helpdesks where staff will maintain the NLIS database to avoid a biosecurity emergency down the track. The helpdesks are there to assist you free-of-charge. Please contact them as soon as you can to provide the property addresses and stock numbers.
Livestock and feed
More information is available on our website:
- Animal welfare in emergencies
- Animal welfare: livestock
- Supplementary feeding and feed budgeting of sheep
Disposing of milk that cannot be delivered
Fire creates a feed shortage for affected livestock. To resolve this, you may buy in or accept donated feed, or you may agist your animals on another property. Both of these actions pose a biosecurity risk of introducing pests, diseases and weeds to your animals and your property.
For more information, see the webpages:
Managing grapes and wine
- Managing smoke affected grapes and wine
- Wine-grape smoke effect reduction: Smoke Taint Risk calculator (STAR)
Water supply and quality
Protecting your water supply from contamination after a fire is a high priority. Ash and soil from burnt paddocks and bushland can be blown or washed into rain tanks and farm dams, causing pollution and adding nutrients for bacteria and algae. Where there are concerns about contamination from retardants applied aerially in wildfire firefighting operations, first read Use of retardant during firefighting operations from DFES.
- Building a sediment fence to prevent eroded material entering your dam (a YouTube video)
- Contaminated farm dams (ash, paddock erosion)
- Rainwater tanks
- Water quality for livestock
Soils and pastures management
- Pasture recovery after fire
- Wind erosion control after a fire
- Wind erosion control after fire – frequently asked questions
- Water erosion control after a fire
- Establishing pasture for small landholders
- Revegetating your small property