Cairnhill Fire Report: Source Identified but not the Cause

Carinhill FireEnergy Safety WA has released its report on January’s  Cairnhill fire and it identifies what it sees as the source of the fire but the cause could not be determined.

Cairnhill PoleThe examination found the Cable Termination Head on top of the concrete power pole behind the property “failed due to the failure of the cable insulation. The cause of the cable insulation failure could not be determined by the examination. ”

The report also points out that Western Power was not aware there was a fire when it tried to turn the power back on 24 minutes after the power was automatically shut down. WP then sent an “operative” to the site and he was informed by DFES of the fire.

Defective InsulatorThe report, which is available here makes no reference to earlier electrical related fires in the area and no recommendations were made.

The fire occurred on January 5 and resulted in the destruction of the Cairnhill B&B.  The quick response of the Dunsborough, Yallingup and Yallingup Rural brigades stopped the fire from reaching neighbouring houses.


Higher Than Normal Bush Fire Risk This Summer

Bush Fire Potential 2015There is a higher than normal bush fire risk this summer according to a report released by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC Tuesday. A lack of rainfall, a longterm deficit in the soil moisture and high fuel loads have led to an above normal fire potential this summer in the South West, the official forecast of the 2015-16 bushfire season states.


There is a greater than 80% chance of warmer temperatures than average September-November due to a warmer Indian Ocean. However this is tempered by the expectation of a greater than 65% chance of more rain than average during the same time period.

Temperature 9-11/2015The report states “The 2015-16 southern fire season comes against a backdrop of long-term drying, record warmth in the Indian Ocean and
the continued development of a major El Nino event in the Pacific. Across southern Australia a pattern of drier southern wet seasons (April to October) has continued for more than 10 years leaving substantial rainfall deficits. The below average rainfall has been accompanied by above average temperatures, with the past decade being the warmest on record in many areas. The pattern of long-term below-average rainfall and above-average temperatures means that conditions such as soil moisture and fuels are prone to rapid drying with the approach of summer.”

Regarding the long term trends, the government funded research centre said they “will challenge the limited resources of the fire and land management agencies and have created the situation where each fire season is likely to be more demanding than the last, both in economic and human costs.”

The report is available here:  2015-16 Bush Fire Forecast.

The climate outlook will be updated by the Bureau of Meteorology around the end of each month.