Bulk water tanker required in Greater Bunbury region: McDougall

On the front line: Gelorup VBFB fire control officer Jeff McDougall has been fighting fires for more than two decades. Photo: Thomas Munday.
On the front line: Gelorup VBFB fire control officer Jeff McDougall has been fighting fires for more than two decades. Photo: Thomas Munday.

The Gelorup Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade has voiced its concerns over the lack of an accessible water tanker within the Greater Bunbury region.

Since 2016, Gelorup VBFB fire control officer Jeff McDougall and his brigade have been campaigning for a 12-2 bulk water tanker.

Designed to help re-fill fire trucks and light vehicles, each water tanker holds approximately 12,000 litres of water.

With more than 20 years' experience, Mr McDougall said water tankers were essential to combating bushfires and structure fires in the Greater Bunbury area.

"I am very concerned about the lack of a bulk water tanker for the Greater Bunbury area," he said.

"It's a very important piece of equipment. I believe every shire needs one of these to help fight fires.

"It's only a matter of time before we get another big bushfire in the Greater Bunbury area."

Mr McDougall said the recent wildfires across the country were an indicator of how important specialised equipment was for firefighters.

"The bushfire seasons are starting earlier, and they're getting longer and longer," he said.

"The area also getting much, much drier. "

Mr McDougall said he hoped to see a tanker in the region by next year.

Shire of Capel deputy chief bush fire control officer Murray Scott said a water tanker would provide some much-needed assistance for local fire crews.

Bunbury Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade captain Terri Kowal also agreed that the region was in desperate need of a water tanker.

"It would be beneficial for everyone in the region, including the career firefighters," she said.

"It seems that every other region has one, and we seem to be the only region that doesn't have one."

City of Bunbury chief executive officer Mal Osborne confirmed that "the city has submitted an application for capital in the form of a bulk water tanker through the Local Government Grant Scheme - Emergency Services Levy since 2017, and will continue to do so."

A government spokesperson said: "The decision on extra equipment for bushfire brigades is made by a multi-agency committee separate to government, so it would not be appropriate for the minister [Fran Logan] to comment on such applications."