The combination of prolonged dry conditions and the risk of a long, severe bushfire season has firefighters across the Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast on high alert, Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said today (Sunday).
Speaking ahead of a visit to the region tomorrow, Mr Crawford said firefighters were working to combat the threat and urged communities to do the same.
“The 2018-19 bushfire season is almost here (August) and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) want to ensure everyone is ready for what may come their way,” Mr Crawford said.
“Areas such as Maryborough-Hervey Bay, Gympie, Bundaberg and the Sunshine Coast have seen increased numbers of more intense bushfires in recent years and there is potential for this trend to continue.
“QFES has identified dry conditions at a number of known bushfire hotspots across the North Coast Region, including Tinnanbar, Poona, Maaroom and Gin Gin.
“There is increased threat of fires starting and spreading at these locations, which highlights the importance of people taking steps to prepare their homes and properties.”
Mr Crawford said QFES’ firefighting efforts had been bolstered ahead of the 2018 season through additional resources, including new appliances.
“More than 100 new appliances have been delivered statewide to QFES – including about 60 to the Rural Fire Service (RFS) - under the Palaszczuk Government’s capital works program for 2017-18,” Mr Crawford said.
“We will continue to build on this momentum, with $44.3 million committed in our record 2018-19 QFES Budget for the replacement and delivery of another 180 new urban and rural vehicles.
“These additions to our fleet feature the latest technology and ensure our dedicated firefighters have the best equipment and vehicles to respond to bushfires and protect their communities.”
Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders said people could do their bit now to finalise their bushfire preparations and complement the work of firefighters on the ground.
“There are simple things everyone can do around the home, such as cleaning up yards and putting in fire breaks,” Mr Saunders said.
“These tasks can be maintained throughout the fire season and really support the efforts of firefighters.
“Other important steps people can take ahead of the season include finalising their Bushfire Survival Plan.
“Having a Bushfire Survival Plan ensures families and households know what to do in an emergency and make our jobs as firefighters much easier.”
QFES Assistant Commissioner John Cawcutt said firefighters had ramped up efforts since Operation Cool Burn – the state’s main bushfire hazard reduction period – launched in April.
“We have worked with landholders and partner agencies to make sure the region is prepared for the season ahead,” Mr Cawcutt said.
“This work involved conducting hazard reduction burns, which target fire-prone areas, and providing community education to make sure people know the risks and what can be done to mitigate them.
“These efforts will be ongoing in the lead up to bushfire season to help ensure Queenslanders make it through unharmed.”
Visit www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au/ for more information on bushfire safety or to complete you Bushfire Survival Plan.
North Coast Bushfire hotspots:
Tinnanbar, Poona, Maaroom, Oakhurst, Woodgate, Moore Park, Coonarr and Gin Gin.
Minister for Fire and Emergency Services
The Honourable Craig Crawford