Parts of south-east Queensland could be heading for an early bushfire season, with firefighters urging residents to prepare now before it’s too late.
The warning comes as figures released this week reveal the South Coast and West Moreton areas ranked second and third respectively on Queensland Fire and Emergency Services bushfire hot spot list.
Rathdowney Rural Fire Service chairman Col Clarke said the rural firies had done a couple of controlled burns in the region.
“Most rural property owners will be prepared for bushfire season but it’s worth reminding everyone to be ready,” he said.
The QFES list compared the number of bushfires by season across all 17 Rural Fire Service commands, with the latest report covering the 2017 bushfire season.
RFS Regional Manager Alan Gillespie said the South Coast Command saw more than 1100 bushfires during the past four seasons, while more than 1000 fires were recorded in West Moreton.
He said Ipswich, Beaudesert, the Lockyer Valley and Somerset regions had been identified as this season’s key areas of concern.
“These locations pose a significant bushfire risk, so it is essential the community works with us now to identify and remove potential threats,” Mr Gillespie said.
“Our rural firefighters, together with other agencies, have been out in force conducting planned burns to reduce fuel loads across the region, but the window of opportunity to prepare is closing.
“Residents and landholders need to be proactive and finalise their preparations now.
“That means clearing up yards, removing dry or dead leaf litter and keeping flammable items away from homes and sheds.
“Those on larger properties should determine if they need firebreaks in place or conduct any final hazard reduction burns, remembering to always speak to the local fire warden for advice on local conditions and to obtain a permit.”
Mr Gillespie said the potential for a “big season” was high, with parts of the region drying rapidly.
“We have already seen a number of fast-running grass fires in recent weeks,” he said.
“Bushfires don’t discriminate. Embers can travel significant distances, crossing several properties and streets to impact areas well ahead of the fire line.
“Preparation, including having a bushfire survival plan, can prevent heartache and give you, your family and your property a fighting chance should bushfire strike.”
Visit ruralfire.qld.gov.au for more information.