Preparations Commence For Busy Bushfire Season

Preparations Commence For Busy Bushfire Season

Queensland Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Bill Byrne

Queensland Firefighters Brace For Busy Bushfire Season 

Victor P Taffa

As the countdown begins to bushfire season, Queenslanders are being urged to prepare their properties and a Bushfire Survival Plan.

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) released the Northern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook this week, with assessments indicating above normal fire potential for parts of Queensland.

Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Bill Byrne said the outlook was a timely reminder to prepare for what could be a busy bushfire season.

“The annual Northern Australian Fire Managers’ Group Forum met in Alice Springs in June to discuss the seasonal outlook for the imminent fire season, including representatives from Queensland.” Minister Byrne said.

“It’s also important to prepare a Bushfire Survival Plan which details exactly how you will prepare and what action you would take, if threatened by a bushfire.”

“The plan must be in writing, practiced regularly and take into consideration the ages and physical capabilities of everyone in your household including children and the elderly.” Minister Byrne said.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Deputy Commissioner Mike Wassing said despite unseasonable rainfall in May and June, most coastal areas north of Bundaberg to Cooktown experienced below average rainfall during the wet season.

“This lack of rain, coupled with the rapid drying of vegetation across parts of Queensland means there is real potential for this bushfire season to be a busy period for our firefighters.” Deputy Commissioner Wassing said.

“In fact, the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC has indicated above normal fire potential in the coastal ranges from Bundaberg, north to around Cooktown and in patches in Cape York.”

“Above normal fire potential is also expected in the woodlands and grasslands around the Mount Isa region, east to Richmond, north to Normanton and west to the Northern Territory border.” Deputy Commissioner Wassing said.

“Changes to vegetation following Tropical Cyclone Marcia in February, 2015 also mean there is continued increased fire risk along the Capricorn Coast, a risk that is being addressed by QFES’ Task Force Marcia.”

Deputy Commissioner Wassing said with Queensland’s bushfire season officially starting on 1August, there was still a window of opportunity for Queenslanders to prepare.

“Now is the time for you to get out there, to take control of the situation and reduce the risk of bushfire on your property.” Deputy Commissioner Wassing said.

“It’s important for all landholders to recognise they are responsible for the fire risk on their properties and by reducing fuel loads in high risk areas now, the chance of losing property or even life during a bushfire emergency will decrease.”

“Some areas are more at risk than others, but nobody can afford to be complacent about bushfire preparation.” Deputy Commissioner Wassing said.

The Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for southern Australia will be distributed in early September.