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Emergency Response team assists during Waroona-Yarloop fire

Emergency Response team assists during Waroona-Yarloop fire

Date Published: 26-Feb-16

During the January fire that threatened Waroona and Harvey and levelled the township of Yarloop – claiming two lives, destroying 181 properties and burning more than 69,000 hectares – ChemCentre’s Emergency Response team provided specialist chemical advice to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) incident team.

The speed of the fire demonstrated to devastating effect how quickly communities and landscapes can be destroyed, and the crucial role DFES staff play to manage these incidents, in collaboration with other agencies including ChemCentre.

Our Emergency Response team was contacted to provide scenario planning around potential repercussions had the fires progressed into the Kemerton industrial area, south-west of Harvey, and east of Australind.

The concerns were around the bulk storage of chemicals, plus the impacts of multiple chemical releases which could have been significant. There were also broader concerns regarding the industrial infrastructure itself, being valuable assets not just for the owners but the state government.

ChemCentre’s work centred on providing plume modelling of gas release and determining the necessary evacuation zones. This modelling service is not available in Western Australia from any other organisation. We attended the DFES headquarters during the peak of the fire on Saturday evening, worked with the industrial contacts, and presented to the incident team later that night.

Thankfully, the hard work of our DFES partners and others prevented the fire from impacting Kemerton, and we were not required to provide further advice or services. However, it was a good example of ChemCentre’s ability to provide emergency response expertise, helping to keep the Western Australian community safe. For more information on our Emergency Response capability, visit the Emergency Response page on our website.

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