Hazard reduction burning in Townsville. Picture: Stewart McLean
Hazard reduction burning in Townsville. Picture: Stewart McLean

Fireys savage Qld hazard reduction burning

A FIRST officer has savaged the Queensland Government's hazard reduction burning process, claiming there was state-owned land that wasn't being monitored for fuel loads.

Will Wilson, who's stationed in Mt Alma west of Gladstone, told The Courier-Mail the local brigade had also stopped telling authorities about "intense fuel loads" because there were too many hoops to jump through.

"There's no one that drives along the highway that says 'There's a massive fuel load'," he said.

"There's no one checking fuel loads at those locations apart from landholders who don't own the land."

Rural Fire Brigade officers completing a hazard reduction burn south of Warwick. Picture: Queensland Fire and Rescue Service
Rural Fire Brigade officers completing a hazard reduction burn south of Warwick. Picture: Queensland Fire and Rescue Service

Mr Wilson, who's been with the brigade for about 25 years, said the land which runs parallel to a highway was a big instigator for fires.

"We've never been notified by main roads that we need to do some fuel reduction on their land," he said.

He said it wasn't the volunteers' job to monitor areas like rail corridors and main roads and called for financial incentives to better protect the community.

A government spokesman said government agencies conducted hazard reduction burns on state-owned land only when it was safe to do so.

"Activities include hazard reduction burns, fireline maintenance, mechanical clearing and targeted community education," he said.

"More than one million hectares of national parks were treated by planned burns last year.

"That is the most hectares treated in eight years."

Hazard reduction burning in Townsville. Picture: Stewart McLean
Hazard reduction burning in Townsville. Picture: Stewart McLean

Frank McKee, who is a fire warden for the Boyne Valley, said it was "all but impossible" to get all government departments to agree to hazard reduction burn on state-owned land.

"You have to jump through hoops so high it's ridiculous," he said.

Asked why he thought it was hard to get approvals, Mr McKee said he believed it was due to concerns about risk.

"They (authorities) think 'Well what if it (fire) gets away'," he said.

He also said officers were required to tell the Government whether there were endangered trees on land needing burning.

"They should be able to have land with no more than a seven-year build up (of fuel load)," he said.

"Anything over seven years is uncontrollable."


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