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QPWS is ready for fire season

13 October 2015

Planned burns, upgraded firelines and new equipment are some of the ways the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) has prepared for what could be a tough fire season.

QPWS Deputy Director-General Ben Klaassen said fire management in parks and forests was a top priority particularly where there were adjoining communities, and in this fire year QPWS had conducted 385 planned burns by the beginning of October.

“From 1 March to 8 October, QPWS conducted 387 planned burns over 368,000ha in total – 345,000ha being of QPWS estate – and 113 wildfires had burnt over 175,000ha of QPWS estate,” Mr Klaassen said.

“The burns are mainly done to reduce fuel loads to decrease risks to life, property and assets, as well as to maintain biodiversity.

“There is a very active El Nino in place, and we’re expecting a longer than usual fire season.

“Major priorities in preparing for this season were community protection, revising key fire strategies, and upgrading firelines.

“QPWS spent about $8.5 million on fire management in 2014-15. Nearly $2 million of capital funds were allocated towards 26 priority fireline networks across the state.

“On the Sunshine Coast alone, QPWS has built or repaired 33 km of firelines that adjoin residential areas since October 2014.

“The service is always looking to improve safety for its 600 fire-trained staff, and has started adopting Tecasafe lightweight fire protective clothing, to reduce fatigue and heat stress when working under hot and difficult conditions.

“We are currently in the fire risk period and the focus is now on wildfire response rather than planned burning.

“QPWS is committed to increasing cooperative fire planning through Area Fire Management Groups led by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, and also encourages joint burning with neighbours and Rural Fire Service volunteers.

“QPWS will continue working closely with neighbours, QFES and other authorities through the season.

“Park visitors, you can do your bit to reduce the risk of wildfires. Use fireplaces where provided, put out fires fully with water not earth or sand, be careful with disposal of cigarette butts, and observe any restrictions on lighting fires,” Mr Klaassen said.

Last updated
13 October 2015