Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) is getting ready for Bushfire Season with preparations under way across the state.
Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said QFES, its partner agencies and landholders undertook Operation Cool Burn between April and August each year.
“Operation Cool Burn is about the protection of Queensland communities using various bushfire mitigation activities,” Mr Crawford said.
“These activities include fire break upgrades and maintenance, slashing, community education and hazard reduction burning.
“Hazard reduction burning is already under way in many areas of the state to reduce fuel loads and some Queenslanders may have noticed smoke in the air as a result.”
Mr Crawford said while hazard reduction burns may not prevent a bushfire, they could reduce a bushfire’s severity, giving firefighters the upper hand.
“QFES and its partner agencies look at landscapes across the state and identify which locations are most at risk and the best strategy to mitigate this risk – which isn’t always a hazard reduction burn.
“These burns are by far the most visible of our mitigation strategies, however they are only one part of a much broader toolkit of activities aimed at protecting communities,” he said.
“Burns are conducted where it is safe and effective to do so, but there are instances where they cannot proceed, such as when the ground is too wet to burn effectively.
“This is why QFES takes a varied and comprehensive approach to bushfire mitigation.”
Mr Crawford said there was a significant increase in the number of permitted burns conducted in the lead-up to the 2019 bushfire season.
“In the 2018-19 financial year, QFES data shows the total Permit to Light Fire activations was more than 26,600 – up by nearly 400 from the previous financial year,” he said.
QFES Commissioner Greg Leach said QFES assisted and supported landholders and partner agencies to conduct burns where possible to take advantage of favourable weather conditions.
“We encourage private landholders to conduct mitigation activities on their own land and we will continue to provide advice and assistance to support them.
“Landholders interested in conducting a burn on their own land should remember to apply for a Permit to Light Fire, which is available at no cost through their local fire warden.
“Residents should ensure they equip themselves with their own tools such as an up-to-date Bushfire Survival Plan so they know what they will do if a bushfire threatens their area.
“It is also important to know where to find accurate information by using the QFES website and social media pages and listen to the advice of authorities,” he said.