Mount Cotton resident fears being trapped if fire breaks out in bushland

AT MOUNT COTTON: Springwood MP Mick de Brenni and Redland City mayor Karen Williams speak to a community member at the Mount Cotton fire preparedness and information meeting on Sunday.
AT MOUNT COTTON: Springwood MP Mick de Brenni and Redland City mayor Karen Williams speak to a community member at the Mount Cotton fire preparedness and information meeting on Sunday.

A MOUNT Cotton resident fears that her family and neighbours could be trapped if a fire broke out in bushland off Hardwood Drive.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said that bushfires in south-east Queensland had alerted her to how vulnerable they were.

"I have a friend at Coolum whose parents had to be evacuated from Peregian Beach," the woman said. "That brought it close to home.

"There is only one access road - Hardwood Drive - into our estate and this winds through bushland. It would be extremely hazardous to residents and emergency workers if this was cut off by bushfire."

Cr Julie Talty said there were countless estates in the Redlands with one access road and many properties near bushland.

"The risk (of fire) is absolutely there," she said. "If people want to live in beautiful bushland, it comes hand in glove with the risk."

However, Cr Talty said there were three access points, that were usually inaccessible but would be opened by emergency services for an evacuation. The points would give access to German Church Road (in two places) and Habermann Road.

The resident's comments come as about 100 people backed a Mount Cotton rural fire service at a meeting with Springwood MP Mick de Brenni and mayor Karen Williams on the weekend.

Mr de Brenni told Parliament on Tuesday that it was clear at the meeting that the community wanted to play a role in bushfire safety.

"We agreed to take further steps in preparing our community to be bushfire ready by doing the following: distributing tools to the local community so we could each create our own bushfire emergency plans, exploring options for a local firefighting presence and pursuing a full-time fire station for our community," Mr de Brenni said.

He had updated Fire Services Minister Craig Crawford and another meeting had been called for October 10 at the Mount Cotton hall at 6pm.

"It can take some time but I want to assure our community that I am working closely with the Minister for Fire and Emergency Services to expedite better fire services for our community as quickly as possible," Mr de Brenni said.

He said previously that a rural fire brigade was up for consideration and a full-time fire station, which might be the better option.

Springwood MP Mick de Brenni talks to a member of the community at the Mount Cotton meeting.

Springwood MP Mick de Brenni talks to a member of the community at the Mount Cotton meeting.

Cr Williams said after Sunday's meeting that she would write to Mr Crawford and would work with Mr de Brenni and Cr Talty on setting up a rural fire service.

"Council has been speaking with residents and the state government about a local rural fire service for years and Sunday's meeting was a great chance to continue that conversation," Cr Williams said.

Cr Talty said every resident at a meeting she and Cr Williams had hosted four years ago supported setting up a local rural fire service.

"Sunday's meeting showed they still want one established," she said. "I'll be out speaking with the community to ensure they have all the information they need and get behind the establishment of a local rural fire service.

"Residents in the Mount Cotton area and surrounds are the most passionate in the region and I know they are keen to work together to ensure their community is safe."

Cr Talty has long campaigned for a rural fire unit but had been opposed by councillors who considered that mainland properties were well covered by district fire units.

The Mount Cotton resident said that being prepared for fires should take into account issues like access, even as discussions continued around a local fire service.

Mount Cotton and Sheldon were identified as having an elevated risk from wildfire when the fire danger index increased, in a Queensland Fire and Emergency Services report on Redland City Council fire readiness, commissioned after bay island fires in 2016.

For information on bushfire safety, visit ruralfire.qld.gov.au/BushFire_Safety.