Landholders in far north Queensland are being urged to be proactive in preparing their properties against bushfire after the region faced its harshest seasons to date. 

More than 700 vegetation fires ravaged the far north last year prompting Rural Fire Service (RFS) Regional Manager Lawrence Laing to ensure the region was bushfire-ready. 

“Our most significant bushfire in 2018 were the Watsonville fires which lasted 35 days and burned through 50,000ha,” Mr Laing said. 

“It affected the Herberton, Walsh River, Watsonville, Irvinebank, Petford, Innot Hot Springs and Mount Garnet communities. 

“We experienced our worst bushfire season last year, which is why it is so important to take steps now to prepare.”

As part of Operation Coolburn, landowners and stakeholders are undertaking hazard reduction burns ahead of bushfire season, which traditionally occurs earlier in the far north than other parts of the state. 

Mr Laing said any landholders who wanted to conduct hazard reduction burns should ensure they have a permit. 

“Landholders who want to conduct a burn greater than 2m in any direction need to have a permit,” he said. 

“Permits are free and can be obtained from your local Fire Warden.”

Mr Laing said there was other important and simple preventative measures landholders should be taking to mitigate bushfire risk. 

“Far north Queenslanders are known for their resilience, but that resilience must start at home,” Mr Laing said. 

“Rural landholders should use the cooler months to focus on property preparation including improving or creating firebreaks. 

“Residents in urban areas should take time to clear leaves and other debris from rooves and gutters. 

“Everyone should also ensure their house number can be easily seen and mow grass regularly to reduce fuel loads.”

Mr Laing said as well as preparing properties, residents should familiarise themselves with the different levels of bushfire warnings ahead of bushfire season. 

For more information go to ruralfire.qld.gov.au.