Rural Fire Service regional manager Brian Smith with Emu Park landowner Peter Donaghy.
Rural Fire Service regional manager Brian Smith with Emu Park landowner Peter Donaghy.

Fireys urge landowners to develop mitigation plans

OPERATION Cool Burn, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services’ hazard reduction program preceding each fire season, is now complete in the Central Region.

Rural Fire Service regional manager Brian Smith said today that 104 high-risk activities at hot spots in the Rockhampton and Livingstone areas were done.

He said that number was 99 per cent of the planned activities, and the remaining few would still be finished off.

“That included hazard reduction activities through burning, through slashing, and also putting fire breaks and other mitigation processes in place,” Mr Smith said.

“It’s our most successful cool burn activity … in the central region, and we’re very proud of that.”

Mr Smith and QFES Central Region Assistant Commissioner Darryl King this morning visited the home of Peter Donaghy, the owner of a property in bushland near Emu Park.

Darryl King, Brian Smith, and Peter Donaghy.
Darryl King, Brian Smith, and Peter Donaghy.

Mr Donaghy explained that the help he got from QFES to reduce the risk of fire at his home was extremely valuable.

He said their aid “gave me the confidence to successfully undertake that burn, which was targeting a reduction in hazard at our property.

“The tools that QFES gave me was just terrific.

“I’d recommend any landholder in Central Queensland … reach out to QFES, get that assistance, and develop that plan.”

Mr Donaghy has lived at his home for three years, but this year was the first time he organised help with fire management.

Previously, he said, he had not had the confidence to hazard burn, but last year’s fires pushed him to better protect his property.

“There were two things that were really useful,” Mr Donaghy said.

“[First,] tools for wind reading, humidity reading, estimating dry matter on the property; second was getting the local rural brigade to come and assist.

“Developing a plan and understanding how fires burn and what you can do to manage that risk makes it a much more achievable task.”

The reduction-burnt part of Mr Donaghy’s land.
The reduction-burnt part of Mr Donaghy’s land.

Mr Smith said the fire season this time around would probably be shorter than last, but there would still be some dangerous days and people should monitor the conditions.

“Our fire season this year is looking like it’s going to be a better fire season than the last couple of years,” he said.

“Having that buffer around your property, cleaning up around your property is so important.

“One fire in the wrong location on the wrong day can cause people a lot of heartache.”

He said he was “comfortable at the moment with the resources we have in the locations we have them”.

Mr King said that Operation Cool Burn in 2020 had been “the best success that we’ve had in years”.

He said areas that had been properly dealt with under a mitigation plan also became a “strategic line” for QFES to use if a fire were to start.

“We have a collective responsibility to reduce the risk and to manage the risk so that we’re prepared,” Mr King said.

“There’s a two-pronged, at least two-pronged, advantage from doing these types of activities.”



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