Residents in South Burnett urged to start bushfire prep

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) is advising residents in South Burnett to take advantage of pristine conditions and put bushfire preparations on the front burner.

Last year, Burnett experienced nearly a 50 per cent increase in bushfire activity from the previous year, coming in fourth place for the number of bushfires across the state.

Rural Fire Service (RFS) Burnett Area Director Martin Taylor said firefighters attended more than 200 fires during the 2018 bushfire season, a figure that could increase this year.

“Last year we experienced one of the most significant bushfire seasons to date,” Mr Taylor said.

“Over the past five years, the number of bushfires in Burnett has typically hovered under the 150 mark so if last year’s jump is indicative of what’s to come, bushfire preparations need to become a priority.

“That’s why this year, as part of Operation Cool Burn, we want landholders to take responsibility and start putting the wheels in motion now.”

QFES promotes Operation Cool Burn, a period of the year when emphasis is placed on bushfire mitigation through partner agencies, local councils and landowners.

Bushfire mitigation activities include hazard reduction burning to reduce fuel loads, fire breaks and targeted community education to inform residents so they can better prepare for bushfires.

“Weather like we’ve seen this week is the perfect conditions for hazard reduction burns,” Mr Taylor said.

“If people only have a small window of opportunity to reduce fuel loads, they should make it a priority and to get their home ready.”

Mr Taylor said there were several preventative measures residents could take to reduce the risk of bushfire.

“It’s as simple as mowing the grass regularly, disposing of green waste and leaf litter and removing flammable objects from the yard,” he said.

“While people on larger properties should consider firebreaks, everyone can do their part to reduce fuel loads and ensure firefighters can access their properties.

“That means an entrance four metres wide by four metres high, with a turn-around area to allow for our trucks.

“Every home owner has a responsibility to prepare their home for bushfire season.

“Residents can also make sure their family is ready by familiarising themselves with the types of bushfire warnings, as well as finalising their Bushfire Survival Plan.”

Mr Taylor said there were a number of resources available to help people prepare.

“If anyone doesn’t know where to get started, head to the Queensland RFS website or get in contact with the local fire warden or brigade.

“RFS is here to help people get ready but ultimately, the onus is on the landowner to take the necessary steps to prepare their home and family.”

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