Don't fuel the fire risk

Comet rural firefighters conduct a hazard reduction burn near the Capricorn Highway in 2010.
Comet rural firefighters conduct a hazard reduction burn near the Capricorn Highway in 2010.

WITH a potentially dangerous fire season looming, Central Highlands property owners are being urged to be make early preparations.

QFRS Emerald/Barcaldine rural operations area training and support officer Alan Johnson said landholders were being encouraged to do hazard reduction burns while there was still moisture in the ground to regenerate grass for fodder.

“Last year’s rain season has given us a very large amount of fuel with the potential to be a high fire danger if it dries off,” he said.

“We really need property owners to be diligent in constructing breaks inside fence lines, clearing around structures, clearing access to the property and working very closely, if they’re not already, in with their local volunteer brigades.

“We have already had some small fires from lightning strikes about a week ago close to Emerald.

“We have a lot of fuel and there’s a lot of matted grass underneath the green grass which should be considered for an early hazard burn.”

Mr Johnson said a bushfire management group meeting would be held in Emerald on March 23, with representatives from relevant State Government departments, the Central Highlands Regional Council and fire authorities.

It will set the agenda for widespread hazard reduction burns along highways, arterial roads, stock routes and rail lines.

Mr Johnson said field days would also be organised with local brigades and property owners showing “the need and necessity to understand landowners have an obligation to prepare because they own the fuel”.

Landowners can contact their local rural fire brigades or the rural operations Emerald office on 4982 0001.

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