AUSTRALIA: CATTLE are being used to tackle bushfire prevention in a unique take on the traditional hazard reduction burn.
People often associate bushfire mitigation with more fire, but west of Toowoomba the cattle are quite literally eating a potential fire’s fuel.
Rural Fire Service Roma Area Director Inspector Goetz Graf said there was about 8500 head along stock routes and the Warrego and Canarvon Highways, in the Roma region towards Charleville.
“Burning paddocks on the side of the highway is one of only many ways to reduce bushfire risk. If you just burn on a regular basis it won’t help vegetation management and will reduce biodiversity,” Insp Graf said.
“It is effectively removing fuel in one particular area so it wouldn’t burn as severe or intense.”
It is part of a state-wide program from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services called Operation Cool Burn. It is a multi-agency initiative to help ease the bushfire threat.
“A lot of stock is brought into the area as well from drought-stricken places, even as far as Riverina in New South Wales,” Insp Graf said.
“It helps the individual farmer to feed their cattle and also helps the community to reduce vegetation thickness and potential bushfire risk along the highway.
“This is just a great example of stakeholders and communities working together. One activity can meet different objectives.”
Insp Graf also wants people travelling through the area to be aware of what is happening as many were under the impression it could be a traffic hazard. He encouraged people not to stop and take photos, to reduce speed but keep moving and don’t honk horn.
Insp Graf added it was important for residents to prepare their own homes and land for bushfire season.