Wet adds fuel to bushfire threat

Wet adds fuel to bushfire threat

20 April 2011

published by www.northweststar.com.au

Australia — Heavy rains over the wet season mean the North West could be facing its worst fire season in recent memory.

Above average rainfall levels have led to high amounts of vegetation in the North West which could act as fuel sources for bushfires.

Queensland Fire and Rescue rural operations area director Gavin Fryar said the danger over the dry season was very real.

“It has the potential to be extremely serious,” he said.

“We’ve had an extremely good growing season so there is a lot of grass around which could be ignition points.”

Mr Fryar said the best way for property owners to mitigate the risk of fire was through controlled burns and the installation of fire breaks in high risk areas.

“They should also remove any vegetation which could act as fuel from around buildings and houses,” he said.

“This can be done by slashing or burning.”

Mr Fryar said landowners wishing to conduct burns should first obtain permits from their local fire warden.

Queensland Fire and Rescue has been conducting fire management group meetings with councils and landowners along the Flinders Highway to ensure good communication and put into place hazard mitigation strategies.

Cloncurry Shire Council has identified several high risk locations that will be the subject of controlled burns and road grading projects.

Council chief executive officer Graham King said unless action was taken early, the fire season could potentially be devastating.

“Massive fires can be expected,” he said. “It could be the worst year for bushfires since the 1970s.”

Queensland Rail will conduct major back burns along the rail corridor as rail lines and their electricity lines can act as ignition sources for bushfires.

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