TREES have been cleared from around the BP Kwinana Refinery to prevent a bushfire causing a major disaster at the plant, after a potentially dangerous blaze inside the refinery boundary last year.
A reader concerned about unnecessary clearing sent the Courier photos of cleared land and piles of trees and bushes inside the refineries Mason Road boundary taken last week.
However, a spokesman for BP said the conifers, planted along the road many years ago to provide a visual screen, caught fire in a minor bushfire last year.
“While the fire was brought under control before it was able to spread, had it not been controlled, the consequences could have been serious,” the spokesman said.
“While every effort is made to prevent bush fires, as everyone in WA knows, it is impossible to eliminate the risk.”
The spokesman said the trees were removed to reduce the fire risk and would be replaced with more suitable species in different locations.
“This decision was not taken lightly, but the safety of the people who work in and around the refinery has to take precedence,” he said.
“The newly planted trees will eventually provide screening, but because of their carefully chosen location and because there will be fewer of them, they will, in the event of a bush fire, pose little or no risk to the refinery and the surrounding area.”