Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) is ramping up preparations for the upcoming bushfire season and is urging south west residents to do the same. 

Members from the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS), Rural Fire Service (RFS) and State Emergency Service (SES) will meet with partner agencies to coordinate efforts and strengthen the region’s bushfire operational plan. 

South west region Assistant Commissioner David Hermann said the pre-bushfire season workshop was vital to help coordinate a united response to the upcoming season.

“It’s great to see all the relevant stakeholders come together to discuss bushfire outlook for south west Queensland and what role everyone has,” Mr Hermann said.

“We will be discussing the seasonal forecast, which indicates this bushfire season won’t be as severe as the last, however we do not want residents to be complacent.

“It is important people are reducing any potential fire hazards on their own properties by mowing their lawns regularly, trimming trees and clearing gutters dead leaves and twigs.” 

RFS South West Acting Regional Manager Tim Chittenden said last year’s bushfire season showed how important early planning and preparation was.

“The Darling Downs experienced significant bushfire activity last year in Stanthorpe, Pechey, Swanfels and Milmerran areas which burnt more than 60,000 hectares of land and destroyed seven houses,” Mr Chittenden said. 

“The region isn’t as dry as it was last year thanks to the rainfall earlier in the year; however, it also means there’s a lot more grass and dry fuel loads which could potentially become bushfire risks."

Mr Chittenden said while the RFS was ready to assist with hazard reduction burns across the region, it was also up to landowners to take responsibility for managing the bushfire risk on their own properties.

“If residents are planning to light a fire greater than two metres in any given direction on their property, they need to obtain a Permit to Light fire from their local fire warden. Permits are free and available on the RFS website or through the local fire warden,” Mr Chittenden said.

He said bushfire season typically starts in August and residents should not to leave preparations too late.

“Now is the time to put the final touches on their bushfire survival plans to ensure them and their loved ones know what actions to take in case of an emergency,” Mr Chittenden said.

“The community should be thinking about their fire escape plans and preparing their emergency and evacuations kits. It’s time now that could save a life later.

“Bushfires can occur anywhere, at any time so we urge the community to take all the precautions they can now to ensure they stay safe this bushfire season.”

For more information about how to prepare your home for the upcoming bushfire season, visit www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au.