Qld Rural Fire Service Inspector Marty Taylor

April 21, 2020

South Burnett residents have been warned the upcoming bushfire season could be worse than the past two years.

Inspector Marty Taylor, Area Director Burnett for the Queensland Rural Fire Service, said with COVID-19 keeping people at home, it was a perfect opportunity for people to prepare their properties.

A recent area meeting had identified major fire hazards in the region, with areas around Blackbutt and the Wondai Forestry at particular risk.

Recent fires on the Bunya Highway at Benair and Flagstone Creek Road, Kumbia – which were quickly extinguished by rural fire crews – demonstrated just how dry current conditions were.

“The area is ready to burn at the moment,” Insp Taylor said.

“We are still in drought and it is drying out very, very quickly.”

He said fuel loads on some rural properties were becoming larger as property owners had been forced to destock during the drought.

“We need people to take the opportunity at the moment to clean up around their houses, cut grass as short as possible, clean out their gutters and clear firebreaks.”

Insp Taylor said some hazard reduction had been occurring – including burns by South Burnett Regional Council contractors – but because of COVID-19 restrictions, rural fire crews cannot help landowners with hazard reduction burns.

Training sessions have also been cancelled.

However, rural fire fighters will still attend emergency callouts.

Insp Taylor said he wanted to congratulate the South Burnett community for their actions during the last fire season which had minimised accidental fires and escaped burns.

“People went above and beyond last season but this season is going to be just as bad – if not worse – than the last two years,” he said.

“We need people to be very vigilant.”

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