Councillor calls for action on fire risk at Redland Hospital and Mount Cotton Village

FIRE WORRIES: Cr Talty at Redland Hospital where heavy growth comes close to buildings. She wants rural residents to have more control over fire mitigation issues on properties.

FIRE WORRIES: Cr Talty at Redland Hospital where heavy growth comes close to buildings. She wants rural residents to have more control over fire mitigation issues on properties.

REDLAND Hospital and all of Mount Cotton Village are at risk of fire due to high fuel loads, says Cr Julie Talty.

Cr Talty said the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services report on Redland City Council fire readiness pointed out the dangers, warning that these places were at risk without significant fuel reduction.

She said it was time council got out of the way and let land owners manage fire risks on rural and bushland properties.

If this did not occur, rural and urban families and their homes would remain at risk.

Cr Talty said the perception of residents was that local laws were preventing them managing fire risks.

“A clear pathway and support for land owners to make their fire management plans and carry out reasonable vegetation removal in order to manage their risk is not only necessary it is a necessity for public safety,” she said.

Cr Talty, who is standing for the state seat of Springwood, has been campaigning at Mount Cotton for a rural fire brigade unit to be set up.

She is opposed by other councillors who consider that mainland properties are well covered by district fire units as opposed to bay islands where access can be difficult and slow, a critical factor in fire fighting.

Mayor Karen Williams said a review of laws relating to hazard reduction and a wide range of related issues including those raised by Cr Talty was under way.

“Things have changed in this area and QFES has made it clear to us that we have to refine that,” she said.

Hazard reduction burns would be conducted as part of council’s schedule of management although some of the land near the hospital was state owned.

She said burns were already under way on Russell Island to reduce fuel loads but people had to remember there was an element of personal responsibility in fire preparedness.

“We encourage people to put a personal fire plan together,” she said.

Cr Talty said the QFES report on fire readiness – prepared after complaints were raised after Russell Island fires last year – showed that in bushland surrounding Redland Hospital there was a fuel load more than twice that which was recommended.

“I note similarly excessively high fuel loads through Redland Bay, Mount Cotton and Sheldon,” she said.

The report said fuel loads in the district were more than 16 tonnes per hectare. More than 20 tonnes per hectare was considered extreme.

“We have in excess of 30 tonnes per hectare … in the bushland that surrounds the Redland Hospital,” she said.

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