Firefighters urge landowners to hold off burning as bushfire risk climbs

RAVAGING FIRE: The intense, fast-burning fire in a wetland reserve on Macleay Island last year. Photo: Jeanette March
RAVAGING FIRE: The intense, fast-burning fire in a wetland reserve on Macleay Island last year. Photo: Jeanette March

EMERGENCY services have appealed for landowners to hold off any burning during high bushfire risk conditions.

The call came after a backyard fire at Mount Cotton got out of hand on Monday.

A spokesperson for Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said fires less than two metres by two metres were permitted but QFES encouraged landowners not to light anything unless absolutely necessary.

A local fire ban is being imposed across south-east Queensland as a dangerous cocktail of record-dry conditions and intense winds heighten the risk of bushfires. 

QFES announced on Wednesday afternoon a 24-hour fire ban would take place from 12.01am on Thursday (September 14) until 11.59pm the same day.

It covers councils across south-east Queensland including Redlands.

Residents in the local government areas are prohibited from lighting a fire in the open, unless it is within a properly constructed barbecue.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Director of Rural Operations Superintendent James Haig said the blanket ban was in response to dangerous weather conditions, which have propelled the fire danger to very high and severe in some areas.

Fire permits were cancelled in parts of south-east Queensland from Friday, September 8 until further notice as the bushfire risk climbed due to continued hot and dry weather conditions.

Acting mayor Wendy Boglary urged residents to be alert to the increasing fire risk across the city.

“Due to the current fire conditions with fuel moisture content below six per cent, the forecast fire danger rating is expected to be elevated for the coming week,” she said.

“Careless behaviour in these conditions can quickly lead to dangerous situations.”

The QFES spokesperson said the Mount Cotton landowner had contacted firefighters when his burn got out of control and had helped fight the fire.

“He was not doing anything wrong,” the spokesperson said.

“But we would encourage people to hold off burning until we get some rain.”

At the height of the blaze near West Mount Cotton Road about 40 firefighters were at the scene and a fixed wing aircraft was used to map fire lines.

The fire, reported at 10.20am, was extinguished by 5pm.

Acting director of Rural Operations at the RFS Chief Superintendent James Haig said there was a real risk of bushfires igniting and spreading quickly in the current dry conditions.

​“Such conditions mean even permitted fires would be difficult to control and pose a danger to communities,” he said.

“Landholders need to be thinking of other methods of mitigation to protect their property as now is not the time to be conducting hazard reduction burns.”

Mr Haig said residents should also be cautious when using power tools and ensure equipment was available to extinguish any fire that may start.

“This may include having a person available to watch out for any ignitions that occur.”

RFS, 1300 369 003 or ruralfire.qld.gov.au.

Council urges residents to clean-up

Council is educating residents about fire hazards through its street speak sessions to be held at Mount Cotton, Redland Bay and Sheldon in the coming weeks.

Cr Boglary said Redland Bay, Mount Cotton, Sheldon, the Southern Moreton Bay Islands and North Stradbroke Island had the highest fuel loads in the city.

“We slashed public land adjoining homes across the Redlands in August and have conducted eight controlled burns in the last six weeks,” Cr Boglary said.

​“Those burns were at Redland Bay, Sheldon, Mount Cotton, Alexandra Hills, Thorneside and three on Russell Island.

“The annual fire maintenance schedule on the Southern Moreton Bay Islands was also brought forward, with fire maintenance trail slashing.”

Cr Boglary said controlled burns had also been conducted on North Stradbroke Island.

She urged residents to help clean up fire hazards and assist neighbours, if necessary.

Extended hours for waste transfer stations

Council has extended the opening hours of waste transfer stations on Russell Island and Macleay Island.

The extension is a trial until the end of January.

From Monday, September 18, both facilities will open seven days a week.

On week days, they open at 8am and will close two hours earlier at 2pm.

On weekends they will open from 8am to 4pm.