Fire season is already here
Experienced fireman gives his tips on how to stay safe
THE region’s leading rural fireman says we could be in for a bad bushfire season.
Manager for the Rural Fire Service, South West Queensland region, Tony Johnson said we could see fires starting early this year.
“If people are trying to get fire-ready now it’s a bit late, we’ve had a warmer than average winter period and fires have started early and caught people by surprise,” Mr Johnson said.
“It’s the wind and the dry weather that has caused fires to be erratic and get out of control.”
Mr Johnson said that, due to winter heating up earlier than expected, he and his team were ready to go when they got the call.
“Because it has been a warmer than average winter period we’re expecting the fire season to be busier than previous years, and some people need to hold on to their feed so people need to understand that those paddocks are very important to someone, so we will have additional resources to help people in their time of need.
“Because of the warm temp we’re expecting the season to keep going to until at least Christmas.”
Mr Johnson said there were a few key steps people could take to be fire-ready, as being prepared was crucial.
■ Make sure your driveway is well labelled in case the fire brigade has to get there, and that there is access to driveways.
■ Clear houses of flammable material.
■ Make sure you have something to put a small fire out. Many can be extinguished with water or beating it out.
■ Get to know your neighbour. They could be the first person to respond if the rural fire brigade is dealing with other fires on the same day.
This last point is particularly crucial for landowners, according to Mr Johnson.
“The big thing property owners need to be aware of under legislation is they have a responsibility to control, monitor and support,” he said.
“If fire does leave their property they still have responsibility to assist.
“It’s amazing how many people say ‘it’s gone through the fence so it’s not my responsibility’.
“As community members we all have responsibility to help and if we all do a little bit it makes it easier than one or two people doing a lot.”
For more information on how to manage fire season log on to the website ruralfire.qld.gov.au.