FIRE READY: Brian Smith, regional manager Rural Fire Service Queensland is expecting a challenging fire season.
FIRE READY: Brian Smith, regional manager Rural Fire Service Queensland is expecting a challenging fire season. Sharyn Oneill

Cyclone Marcia and El Nino boost CQ fire risk

CENTRAL Queensland Fire and Emergency Services are preparing for a challenging fire season fuelled by Tropical Cyclone Marcia and El Nino.

Fifty Central Region QFES and Rural Fire Service leaders met at the Dreamtime Cultural Centre on Saturday morning to plan for the approaching fire season.

QFES Queensland Acting Chief Superintendent Brian Smith said fire services were preparing for a tough season.

"We've brought together our senior leaders in the Rural Fire Service and QFES to communicating the bushfire plan this season," Mr Smith said.

"Because of Tropical Cyclone Marcia we've had an increase in some areas of the fire risk and the intensity of fires this fire season.

"We're moving into an El Nino year as well and are likely to see increased fire behaviour in the area and we're preparing for that by increasing our timely response to those incidents.

"We're just communicating that information and getting feedback from the brigades as to what issues they've got in their local areas and what we can do to assist them in mitigating those risks and preparing for the season."

Mr Smith said QFES had been preparing for the fire season since the day after Cyclone Marcia hit.

"From the start of the cyclone clean-up we were focusing on what we needed to do to mitigate fire risk this season," he said.

"With the cooperation of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC group we were able to engage an ex-CSIRO scientist to do some evaluation of the cyclone damaged areas in relation to fire risk.

"That test identified an increase in fire risk and that we will face a more increased and difficult season this year."

Mr Smith said residents should prepare their homes for the fire season expected to be declared in August.

"We're asking residents to be aware of this increased fire risk and to take mitigation strategies themselves," he said.

"They can look at reducing the amount of grass on their grounds, reducing the leaf matter in their gutters by cleaning them out, preparing an area that is safe around their home, a buffer zone of 20-30m around their home to allow fire-fighters to get into those locations and stop fires coming up to their door.

"Be aware of the fire danger ratings and what that means for you. Have a fire survival plan in place and practiced so you know what you're going to do if a fire does come towards your location."

PREPARE FOR FIRE SEASON

 Reduce fire fuel around your home by mowing, tidying up and reducing leaf matter in gutters.

 Residents close to bushland should create a 30m buffer zone around their home

 Create a fire survival plan and practice it



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