COOL BURN: Stanthorpe Fire Station officer-in-charge Ian Barnden with firefighter Sam Maugeri. Mr Barnden has spoken about some of the new methods they've been utilising to burn off ahead of the fire season.
COOL BURN: Stanthorpe Fire Station officer-in-charge Ian Barnden with firefighter Sam Maugeri. Mr Barnden has spoken about some of the new methods they've been utilising to burn off ahead of the fire season. File

Firies trial water-saving methods

FIREFIGHTERS have begun utilising age-old indigenous techniques to conserve water in preparation for what's anticipated to be a deadly fire season.

Stanthorpe Fire Station officer-in-charge Ian Barnden said they had started practising new ways of burning off, with water at a premium.

"We've been doing what they call cool burns,” Mr Barnden said.

"It's like what the Aboriginals used to do years ago when they used to look after the land.

"Basically it's when the fire does what it was designed to do - reduce all the fuel load nice and slow.

"A lot of the native plants and grasses like a slow burn rather than a hot burn. You don't have to use a lot of water either, because it's usually going downhill against the wind.”

Toowoomba IZone officer Shane Brown has been learning the methods to pass on to other station brigades.

"He's been learning from an Aboriginal guy who has been going around the state, probably Australia,” Mr Barnden said.

"He's just come down here and shown us the way they've been doing it for thousands of years I guess.

"It's really good for our climate at the moment where we don't have a lot of water.

"We've got a pretty bad bushfire season on our doorstep potentially.”

BE WARNED: Queensland Rural Fire Brigade work to contain the fire in Girraween National Park near Wallangarra earlier in the year. Firefighters are hopeful of avoiding a similar blaze this fire season.
BE WARNED: Queensland Rural Fire Brigade work to contain the fire in Girraween National Park near Wallangarra earlier in the year. Firefighters are hopeful of avoiding a similar blaze this fire season. FILE

They've tested out the cool burn technique along Quart Pot Creek, on Mt Marlay and a couple of other locations so far. "We're just looking at pockets in the town that are overgrown,” he said.

"Mostly it's council land but they've been really supportive and happy for us to burn off their land as well and make it safe for the residents of Stanthorpe pretty much.

"We'll just keep chipping away at our list.”

If predictions for a bad bushfire season come to fruition, Mr Barnden said the lack of water could prove costly to them.

"A fire can start anywhere and pretty much we need tofind the closest source ofwater to the fire,” he said.

"You look for dams, swimming pools, whatever you can. But if we can't find that we're going to have to look to source it from other places.

"That's going to take time and distance and not really going to help fighting the fire. We always have that time factor.

"We just have to have our fingers crossed for lots of rain to make the grass green and to fill up the water holes.”

He said they'd held discussion with Southern Downs Regional Council and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services to find a solution.

In the meantime, Mr Barnden has asked residents to do their part and act smart.

"Have a bucket of water ready or perhaps ask themselves 'do I really need to mow that paddock this time of year?',” he said.

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