Firefighters are urging south-west Queensland residents to obtain a Permit to Light Fire when reducing fuel loads on their properties ahead of bushfire season.

Acting Rural Fire Service (RFS) Regional Manager Tim Chittenden said it was imperative that residents were preparing their properties now.

“We are now only talking a matter of weeks, rather than months, before bushfire season is upon us due to tinder dry conditions across the region,” Mr Chittenden said. 

“Residents are responsible for managing fuel loads on their properties and should take appropriate steps to obtain a permit if they wish to conduct hazard reduction burns.

“Permits are required for fires bigger than two metres in any direction and come with clear guidelines for when you can light the fire and what precautions need to be taken, such as informing neighbours.”

Mr Chittenden said permits were designed to provide landholders with a key set of instructions and conditions to follow.

“Permit to Light Fire provides the permit holder with indemnity when the conditions are followed correctly,” he said. 

“Permits are free and easy to apply for, and are issued by a local fire warden who understands the conditions and local requirements. 

“Tough penalties apply for residents who light fires without a permit.
 
“Having a permit also helps reduce the likelihood of unnecessary calls to emergency services.

“Burns may be reported to emergency services as a bushfire and if there is no known permit for the area, crews will respond as if it is an emergency.

“If a permit is in place, we can contact the permit holder to ensure everything is ok to avoid turning-out to a false alarm.” 

Mr Chittenden said there were pockets in the Southern Downs Regional Council area where local burning restrictions were already in place. 
 
“If you are in the Southern Downs area, it’s best to talk with your local fire warden to determine if this applies to you and what other measures you can take to prepare your property for bushfire season,” he said. 

“Burning is not the only option to reduce property hazards.

“Landholders should consider other measures such as slashing, fire trail construction and general clearing of fuel loads around structures and fence lines.”

For more information on bushfire preparedness, how to obtain a Permit to Light Fire and to find your local fire warden, visit www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au