A fast-moving bushfire threatens property at Cobraball Road in November 2019.
A fast-moving bushfire threatens property at Cobraball Road in November 2019.

BUSHFIRE SEASON: Livingstone gets positive outlook

A GLIMPSE into the crystal ball today delivered Livingstone Shire some good news ahead of the upcoming bushfire season.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services chiefs updated councillors on the forecast outlook which, fingers crossed, does not predict a repeat of last November’s Cobraball bushfire disaster.

“I’m happy to say, it looks like we might have a less dramatic season coming up,” Livingstone Mayor Andy Ireland said following the debrief.

“This is because we’re entering into a La Nina effect and potentially, that will mean a wetter Summer, hopefully.”

The impacts of La Nina typically mean increased rainfall across much of Australia, cooler daytime temperatures south of the tropics, warmer overnight temperatures in the north, a shift in temperature extremes, decreased frost risk, greater tropical cyclone numbers, and an earlier monsoon onset.

Livingstone Shire Mayor Andy Ireland, QFES Assistant Commissioner Darryl King, QFES Chief Superintendent Steve Smith and Superintendent Brian Smith outside the council's headquarters following a briefing session to discuss Livingstone's Draft Bushfire Management Plan 2020-2022.
Livingstone Shire Mayor Andy Ireland, QFES Assistant Commissioner Darryl King, QFES Chief Superintendent Steve Smith and Superintendent Brian Smith outside the council's headquarters following a briefing session to discuss Livingstone's Draft Bushfire Management Plan 2020-2022.

The news was delivered to councillors at a briefing session where Livingstone’s Local Disaster Management Group unveiled the council’s draft Bushfire Management Plan 2020-2022.

The document, prepared in partnership with QFES, is a blueprint for how the shire will address a number of issues, including bushfire mitigation, in the coming years.

The plan, which the council has described as a “strategic and comprehensive draft document”, has been eagerly awaited, especially since some of the shire’s residents expressed concerns that authorities had not learned lessons from the Cobraball disaster.

But Cr Ireland said authorities had “indeed” learned from what unfolded last November which saw 15 homes in the shire destroyed.

“That was discussed at some length this morning,” he said.

“The lessons learned were around a number of things.

“The primary one, as the guys from the fire services mentioned, was around communication.

“I think lots of lessons were learned for them and for us at council, and the LDMG and how that needs to be improved.”

This aerial image shows a planned burn being carried out in June at Henry St, Emu Park, by Livingstone Shire Council and QFES.
This aerial image shows a planned burn being carried out in June at Henry St, Emu Park, by Livingstone Shire Council and QFES.

Cr Ireland said there was also room to improve planning.

“How we need to plan our fire strategies going forward and our action plans.

“That’s one of the things coming to council very shortly.”

The end product of a planned burn in June at Henry St, Emu Park.
The end product of a planned burn in June at Henry St, Emu Park.

Cr Ireland also said Livingstone had been proactive with fire mitigation conducted throughout the shire.

“We’ve had a number of those burns.

“We had one on Tanby Rd recently, we’ve had a couple over at Emu Park, and it’s part of our strategy to mitigate the risk on our own (council) property, and not expose the community to further fire danger.

“We’ll continue to do that.”

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