Scenic Rim bushfire prevention to be helped by wet winter forecast

BUSHFIRE: Fire management strategies and a wetter winter than usual could reduce bushfire risk across the region.
BUSHFIRE: Fire management strategies and a wetter winter than usual could reduce bushfire risk across the region.

BUSHFIRE boffins have said a wetter than average winter predicted in the Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook: June 2021 - August 2021 could impact the risk of devastating bushfires next season.

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre's mid-year seasonal outlook report covers all states and territories through to August.

This comes after several planned burns have been conducted across the region in preparation for the bushfire season.

Woodhill Fire Brigade first officer Ben Heilbronn said rural firies had been working with Scenic Rim Regional Council's bushfire mitigation officer to begin Operation Cool Burn across the region.

"What a wetter autumn does is narrow the window for planned burns," he said.

"Historically, when we get heavy rains from Easter through to May we have a lot of growth and this increases the risk of fast running grass fires.

"We're in a position now where we are more reliant on frost to cure the grass so we can enact more burns."

Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud said fire management remained a year-round process and it was important not to become complacent.

"A lot of the country has seen an early autumn thanks to La Nina, and we have a wetter than average few months ahead of us," he said.

"Now is not the time to take the foot off the brake though.

"We've seen the Northern Territory and most of Queensland experience heavy rainfall over the wet season, which means significant fuel growth for potential fires.

"The Outlook predicts normal fire potential for northern regions of the state. We urge all Australians to keep in mind that normal risk does not mean there is no risk, and everyone has a role to play when it comes to bushfire preparedness.

"Think about your evacuation plans now and how you can prepare your property before the next bushfire season rolls around.

"Small steps can go a long way to protecting your home and we can all use the winter months to our advantage by making sure that grass is trimmed and gutters are cleared.

"Prescribed burning during winter when conditions allow is another important tool that fire agencies and land managers can utilise to reduce future bushfire risk."

Mr Littleproud said the seasonal report would be used by fire authorities to make strategic decisions like resource planning and prescribed fire management to reduce the negative impacts of bushfire.

"We're continuing efforts and working closely with local government, states and territories to keep Australians safe all year round. We must remain vigilant," he said.

"People wanting more information on how to plan and prepare, should contact their local fire service."

The BNHCRC Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook: June - August 2021 can be found at https://www.bnhcrc.com.au/hazardnotes/97.