Queensland residents are being urged to prepare and finalise their bushfire action plans ahead of a season that could bring an increased bushfire potential to some parts of the state, according to the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES).
The reminder came as the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (BNHCRC) released the Northern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook.
QFES Acting Commissioner, Mike Wassing, said the Outlook was a collaborative effort contributed to directly by QFES’ own Predictive Services Unit (PSU).
“There has been a definite trend since 1990 and based on the current forecasts available, Queensland is likely to have an earlier start and a later finish to bushfire season,” Mr Wassing said.
“While conditions for this bushfire season are not looking the same as the 2018-19 season at this time, QFES will continue to prepare and plan for whatever mother nature throws at us.”
Mr Wassing said QFES and its partner agencies had been out in force over recent months for Operation Cool Burn preparing for the upcoming season, and he urged Queenslanders to contribute to managing the risk.
“QFES continually assesses conditions that may give rise to increased bushfire potential to ensure we are prepared, and we’ve noted with caution that the current rainfall and temperature outlooks show an increased likelihood of warmer and drier conditions during bushfire season.
“With this foresight, we encourage the community to work with us proactively to mitigate potential risk and to prepare their homes and properties.
“People should familiarise themselves with bushfire warnings and where to access important information they may need during emergencies.”
QFES PSU Manager, Andrew Sturgess, said some parts of the state were likely to experience heightened fire risk over the coming months.
“The analysis we’ve undertaken indicates increased bushfire potential in forested areas around Rockhampton down to the New South Wales border, including parts of south-east Queensland,” Mr Sturgess said.
“It shows higher fire potential for areas throughout the central-west and south-west of the state, areas that recently had their first decent rain in a very long time.
“Across these parts there is now grass and vegetation growth where there has been none for a number of years, and with that comes a higher chance of fires.”
Mr Sturgess said all households should have a current Bushfire Survival Plan and everyone should know what to do in an emergency.
“Preparation is the key to ensuring people stay safe during a bushfire.
“We want everyone to have a plan, to know when they will leave their homes and where they will go, to consider the best route to take, the items they will need in their emergency kits.
“Now is the time for people to prepare, to clean up around the house and yard, for people to ensure they have quality fire breaks around their homes and assets.
“The work we all do now can make a real difference during fire season.”