Fire sea­son is al­ready here

Ex­pe­ri­enced fire­man gives his tips on how to stay safe

Chinchilla News - - NEWS -

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.

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