The Rural Fire Service is warning landowners in north-west Queensland of the bushfire risk to property should the correct preparation not be implemented following the release of the Northern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for 2017.
RFS Regional Manager Tony Hazell said Mount Isa, Cloncurry and Carpentaria areas had seen heightened vegetation growth due to large amounts of winter rainfall in 2016.
“Winter rainfall has meant fuel loads have increased with many areas receiving falls well above average the monthly average in 2016, however during summer, low rainfall caused much of the vegetation to dry out,” Mr Hazell said.
“The vegetation is 80 to 90 percent cured, meaning the grass has dried out to the point that if it does ignite, there is very little moisture to stop the fire from taking hold and spreading quickly.
“We understand landowners are still lightly stocked and are reluctant to conduct hazard reduction burns and lose good grazing pastures, but it’s important to take steps now to mitigate the risk of an above normal bushfire season.”
Mr Hazell said landowners who didn’t wish to conduct hazard reduction burns could implement other bushfire mitigation tactics in order to protect their property and livelihood.
“If you’re not conducting hazard reduction burns, there are a number of other ways you can protect your property, including the construction of fire breaks, clearing access ways to property and water sources, and ensuring you have a well-practiced Bushfire Survival Plan,” he said.
“Fire breaks can be constructed around the perimeter of important areas of your property, making it easier for firefighters to protect property and manage a bushfire if one starts nearby.
“By clearing access ways to both your property and water sources, firefighters can setup quickly and begin firefighting operations, getting the fire under control sooner.”
Mr Hazell also reminded residents to stay up-to-date with bushfire warnings in their local area and report all bushfires to Triple Zero (000) immediately.
“The best way for you to remain informed of bushfire activity in the area is by staying up to date with bushfire warnings as conditions can change quickly and information from earlier may be out of date,” he said.
“Calling Triple Zero is important in any emergency and should be the first thing you do if a bushfire threatens your property.
“We are asking everyone to be vigilant and work with firefighters to ensure community safety during this year’s bushfire season.”
Visit www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au to keep updated on fire danger ratings and for information on bushfire preparation.
For more information on the Bushfire Natural Hazards CRC Northern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook 2017, go to http://www.bnhcrc.com.au/