Tips to prepare for bushfire season

FIRE SEASON: Landowners are being warned to prepare for bushfires after a warm, dry winter.
FIRE SEASON: Landowners are being warned to prepare for bushfires after a warm, dry winter. Tom Gillespie

A WARM and dry winter has increased the risk of bushfires across the nation.

Fire chiefs throughout Australia are warning homeowners to prepare now for the season ahead.

Queensland Rural Fire Service area manager Goetz Graf said it was important to understand what the bushfire risks were in the region.

"At the moment there is statewide concern about bushfires but we also have to understand what the risks are on a local level,” he said.

"The below average rainfall for 2017 has led to drier conditions and poor vegetation in our area, compared to the coastal areas which have seen a lot of vegetation after cyclone Debbie.

"So there is more concern for the areas along the coastal region.”

Mr Graf said residents in the south-west region should be planning for the possibility of bushfires.

"The Roma area has experienced similar weather patterns to what we had back in 2002 and 2006, which means there are high fire risks and the chance of high fire activity,” he said.

"What's important for people to remember is to understand the risks and what to do about it.”

Mr Graf said the key message at this time of year was to have a plan in place to reduce bushfire risk.

He said landowners needed to be aware that if they owned the fuel, then they owned the fire.

"Property owners need to understand the weather conditions, the landscape of their properties and how they can contribute to the risk of bushfires,” he said.

"They also need to have the right firefighting equipment in place, check their firebreaks and have implemented a bushfire survival plan.”

Mr Graf said those travelling in the south-west also needed to be aware of how their activity could increase the risk of bushfires.

"Travellers need to be wary of their surroundings, especially when lighting campfires close to tall grass,” he said.

"Any fires aside for campfires need to have a permit from the local fire warden.”

When reporting a bushfire, Mr Graf said people should always phone emergency services on 000.

"People often call the rural fire brigade first but they should remember to always call 000 so the appropriate response can be organised,” he said.

Mr Graf would like to commend the rural firefighting volunteers in the region for their work prior to bushfire season to keep the community safe.

A number of controlled hazard burn-offs have been conducted and measures taken to reduce the risk of bushfires.

For more information, phone the Roma Area Office on 46222074.

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