Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) is urging the state’s cane growers and sugar mills to familiarise themselves with new cane burning conditions ahead of the 2019 crushing season. 

QFES Rural Fire Service (RFS) Superintendent James Haig said the new Cane Burning Notification was now in force to reduce the risks associated with cane burning.

“The Cane Burning Notification replaces previous versions released in 2004 and 2010 and sets out minimum conditions for the burning of sugar cane,” Mr Haig said. 

“The Notification gives cane growers the power to lawfully burn sugar cane as long as they meet a series of requirements, including where the burn will be located, how it will be conducted and what equipment will be used.

“Cane growers need to read the Notification to see if it applies to them before they decide to burn.”

Mr Haig said the Notification was one of two mechanisms available to cane growers to burn sugar cane. 

“Cane burning must be authorised either through a Permit to Light Fire or the Notification,” he said. 

“Cane growers must apply to their local RFS fire warden for a permit if they cannot meet the conditions of the Notification or if they believe they will be unable to meet the conditions.

“Any cane grower can apply for a permit, even if they do meet all of the conditions laid out in the Notification.

Mr Haig said local fire wardens were ready and willing to help cane growers understand their obligations. 

“Growers should contact their local wardens if they have any questions about the Notification or how to obtain a permit,” he said. 

“A permit sets conditions on how the burn will be conducted and the specific area to be burnt. 

“Wardens will work closely with growers to set these conditions to ensure burns are conducted safely.

“I encourage all cane growers to learn more about the Notification by visiting the RFS website or by contacting their local cane grower organisation.”

Mr Haig said QFES collaborated with representatives from the sugar industry during the development of the Notification. 

“QFES worked closely with key stakeholders, including all of the grower organisations, to ensure the Notification met the needs of industry while balancing the requirement for burns to be carried out safely,” he said

CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan thanked QFES for working with industry.

“As Queensland’s peak body for sugar cane growers we thank the QFES for working proactively and collaboratively with us and other key grower organisations on this important issue,” Mr Galligan said. 

“While most growers now harvest their cane green and leave the leaf matter on the ground, burning remains an important management option for some districts and special circumstances.

“It is critical that growers are able to burn legally and safely when it’s needed. It is now clear when burning can take place under the Notification and when a permit is required.”

More information on the Cane Burning Notification and how to obtain a Notification or Permit to Light Fire can be found here: ruralfire.qld.gov.au/Using_Fire_Outdoors/Pages/Cane-Burning-Notification.aspx