Task­force iden­ti­fies ar­eas of height­ened fire risk

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Louise Shan­non

TWO ar­eas of the Whitsundays have been iden­ti­fied as high fire risks post-Cy­clone Deb­bie due to their prox­im­ity to pop­u­lated zones.

In­spec­tor for the Mackay Ru­ral Area of the Queens­land Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices, Andrew Houley, said these were eight hectares of coun­cil re­serve land at the Can­non­vale TAFE col­lege site, and Shute­haven, which cov­ered land to the north of Shute Har­bour.

The TAFE site, he said, was al­ready sur­rounded by good fire breaks, but the job now was to clean the fire breaks and tidy up af­ter the cy­clone.

Mr Houley said Shute­haven was a dif­fi­cult lo­ca­tion be­cause it was steep, but it had been well cleared by lo­cals.

“There, we will fo­cus on neigh­bour­hood aware­ness from the fire and res­cue teams about the risk of in­creased fire fuel,” he said.

In­ves­ti­gat­ing fire risk ar­eas across the Whitsundays was done as part of an on-site anal­y­sis by Cy­clone Deb­bie Task Force mem­bers in­clud­ing QFES’s land man­age­ment agency part­ners – Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil, Mackay Cane­grow­ers, Ru­ral Fire Ser­vice, Fire and Res­cue, Proser­pine Cane Grow­ers, Na­tional Parks and Wildlife and the De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and Mines.

The fo­cus of the task­force was to ad­dress any post-cy­clone dam­age that could con­trib­ute to height­ened fire threats.

Mr Houley said tim­ing was para­mount as fire sea­son typ­i­cally be­gan in spring.

Res­i­dents seek­ing a fire per­mit can log on to www.ru­ral­fire ser­vice.qld.gov.au.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

PLAY­ING IT SAFE: In­ves­ti­gat­ing fire risks.

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