Firefighters are asking central Queenslanders get their homes ready for bushfire season, with crews warning of a short time to prepare properties before the window of opportunity closes.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Assistant Commissioner Steve Barber said recent weather conditions had made it difficult for firefighters to make full use of the state’s traditional bushfire hazard reduction period (Operation Cool Burn).
“Since the start of Cool Burn in April our crews have been busy working to reduce bushfire risks, but the weather hasn’t played its part,” Mr Barber said.
“Some planned hazard reduction burns have been put on hold and there is a chance we will see a shorter Cool Burn in 2019.
“What this means is we need to make the best use of the time we have up our sleeve – but we can’t do it alone.
“We need locals to pitch in and do their bit in the lead up to bushfire season to help ensure we all stay safe.”
Rural Fire Service (RFS) Regional Manager Brian Smith said rural landholders had an important role to play.
“We know that after finally getting good rain there will be some graziers and landholders reluctant to burn off grass they would want to feed livestock, and that is totally understandable,” Mr Smith said.
“It is up to land owners to manage fire risk on their properties.
“We encourage landholders who are hesitant to burn to focus on putting in quality firebreaks and clearing unnecessary growth from their properties.”
Mr Smith said residents in built-up areas could also lend a valuable hand.
“Much of the region felt the devastation of bushfires in 2018, with some of the worst fires in recent memory impacting local communities,” he said.
“We will be out in force over the coming months doing what we can to minimise risks across the region and we ask locals to follow our lead.
“Cleaning the yard, trimming overhanging branches and mowing lawns regularly all make a big difference.
“Clearing leaves, twigs, bark and other debris from the roof and gutters helps, as does checking first aid kits and sitting down with the family to prepare a Bushfire Survival Plan.”
For more tips on preparing for bushfire season, visit ruralfire.qld.gov.au/.