Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Mark Ryan has called on Central Queensland communities not to be complacent and to prepare their homes and properties before the next bushfire season.
Minister Ryan, who was in the region today to highlight the record budget for fire and emergency services which includes a record $72 million allocation for the Rural Fire Service, said the risk of bushfires leading into the upcoming season remained, despite recent rainfall and a wetter-than-average winter forecast.
“The Fire Service in Central Queensland tells me this region is much drier than other parts of the state and because of that there remains a threat of bushfires,” Mr Ryan said.
“The other factor compounding this is recent rain contributed to increased vegetation across the region, which can pose a serious risk during a bushfire.
“This build-up of dry vegetation and material needs to be cleared sooner rather than later, whether that’s by hazard reduction burns or using machines to prepare properties.
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said: “I don’t want to see central Queenslanders become complacent when the threat of bushfire remains on their doorstep.
“We must always be aware of the threat even if it seems remote during wet weather,” she said.
Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke said the key was being prepared.
“We can’t just expect emergency services to immediately be on the spot. It is up to individuals and families to take preventative measures,” he said.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Assistant Commissioner Darryl King said QFES personnel had been working with those from partner agencies to reduce the risk of bushfires and encouraged residents and landholders to do the same.
“We are working hard to protect central Queensland communities and are asking residents and businesses to do what they can to prepare now,” Mr King said.
“We need everyone to act to reduce bushfire risk on their properties – a well-prepared property is easier to protect from a bushfire.
“Actions you can take without a Permit to Light Fire include moving your lawn, removing excess vegetation and getting rid of flammable materials from your property.
“All households and businesses should ensure there is a safe escape route from the property.
“This is why it is important for every household to have a Bushfire Survival Plan and to ensure the whole family knows what to do in an emergency.”
Property owners and rural land holders must obtain a Permit to Light Fire if they plan to have a burn on their property larger than two metres in any direction.
Permits are free and can be obtained from your local Fire Warden.