QUEENSLAND Fire and Emergency Services has signed off on the formation of a rural fire brigade that will service the Redlands mainland.
More than 50 volunteers have applied to join the brigade but training and education will be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Steering committee member Ian Mitchell, a former QFES employee, said the group would be known as the Brisbane Headquarters Regional Mitigation Brigade and would be part of a larger unit that services the Brisbane region.
He said the brigade's role would be in fire mitigation and education across the Redlands, with fire response to be provided by firefighters at urban stations.
Mount Cotton resident Craig Luxton, who has applied to become a volunteer, said he was pleased to see a group set up that would help the community defend itself after such a cataclysmic fire season.
"One of the big things missing from the current emergency management arsenal is the lack of mitigation," he said.
"We have always had a strong fire brigade presence which is great, but they are only called when a fire is burning.
"The problem we have is no one takes the mantle of mitigation, so when it comes to a fire burning from the western side of Mount Cotton, by the time it reaches us here in the village we've got some serious challenges.
"There is only one road in and out and the trucks can't reach the lion's share of the land that will be burning."
Cr Julie Talty said it was a huge relief to have the brigade given the green light.
"It means we have people working on burn plans, we've got plans for community education for areas that are high risk," she said.
"These are all services that we couldn't access before and now we can.
"We are hoping to reduce the fuel load in the local area this year but we are a little bit limited in our contribution to that.
"This year we may need to get people to come in from other areas to help us with fuel reduction because we haven't been able to up-skill and train our people yet.
"But all things going well, we will be looking towards the future to reduce the fuel load and the risk for our local communities."
Mr Luxton said more than 100 people had turned up at community meetings to discuss the rural fire brigade.
"It is a hot button issue here in Mount Cotton," he said.
Oodgeroo MP Mark Robinson said the brigade did not meet the expectations of locals.
"The dream of a fully fledged, fully local, Mount Cotton based and named rural fire service with local volunteers fully trained to put out real fires, has gone up in smoke ...," he said.
Mr Robinson said the deal had been made to appease the United Firefighters Union by giving them centralised control of all fire services in the Redlands and ruling out a local license, budget and assets.
Mr Mitchell said the brigade would have its own management committee, which would be formed after volunteers were confirmed.
The first stumbling block was to have blue cards ratified.
"There will be a first officer, a second officer and possibly a third or a fourth," he said.
"There will be different briefs that people will have like training or talking to private land owners and working with them to set up mitigation burns on their properties."
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