South west residents urged to make bushfire prep a priority
As bushfire season inches closer, the Rural Fire Service (RFS) is urging landowners across the south west to prepare their property for bushfire season to decrease risk.
Rural Fire Service Area Director Tim Chittenden said the region would move into bushfire season quickly.
“The area from Warwick south to Stanthorpe will have a higher bushfire risk this year as there’s been a lot of frost and it’s very dry at the moment,” he said.
“We have already seen a few bushfires in the area as fuel loads are high.”
Last year Toowoomba had increased bushfire activity with firefighters attending more than 80 fire incidents, compared to more than 60 the year before.
Dalby also experienced a higher rate of fires, with firefighters attending more than 60 incidents compared to about 50 in 2016.
Mr Chittenden said it was a great time for landholders to prepare their property and reduce fuel loads as most of the region’s vegetation had dried out.
“Too often we see landholders relying solely on firefighters to put in fire breaks and burn fuel loads on their own properties, without taking the steps to reduce fire risk themselves,” he said.
“Regular burns are the most effective way to manage fuel loads, which includes dead leaves and bark build-up.
“If you own the fuel, you own the fire - if it’s your land and your fuel, you hold the legal responsibility to manage the fuel and reduce fire risk on your land.
“By having low fuel areas, it helps firefighters successfully and safely control bushfires.”
Mr Chittenden said it was essential for Queensland property owners to obtain a permit if they planned to burn fires more than two metres in any direction.
“The Permit to Light a Fire system ensures burns are conducted at an appropriate time of the year, are suitably managed and emergency services are notified,” he said.
“You should also keep your neighbours in the loop if you are applying for a permit.
“Permits are free and can be obtained from your local Fire Warden.
“Tough penalties apply for people who light fires without a permit.”
Mr Chittenden said it was also important for residents to have an up-to-date Bushfire Survival Plan.
For further information on preparing for bushfire season, learning what to do when a bushfire approaches, and downloading a Bushfire Survival Plan, see www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au
11 August 2017.