PREPARE NOW: Stanthorpe Rural Fire Brigade group officer Pedro Curr is hopeful people will start preparing for the bushfire season.
PREPARE NOW: Stanthorpe Rural Fire Brigade group officer Pedro Curr is hopeful people will start preparing for the bushfire season.

Fresh scars prompt stern warning from fireys

A WARNING has been issued to residents in bushfire affected communities to prepare their fire plans earlier than usual to prevent a devastating repeat of 2019.

More than 60,000 hectares of land was burnt during the September fire season which has prompted rural fire brigades to commence more frequent hazard reduction burns.

Stanthorpe Rural Fire Brigade group officer Peter ‘Pedro’ Curr said his Ballandean brigade was taking extra precautions to ensure the town’s safety.

“We’re just doing a few burns around the place that we can do but what happens in the next month or so, who knows

“There’s still a lot of fuel around, it’s going to be wirey.”

The fresh memories of last September’s season have seen more locals apply for fire permits, according to Mr Curr.

“We’ve issued a lot more – landowners are doing a lot more burning themselves,” he said.

“The brigades will help them with the bigger ones, too.

“(The memories) are still around but we just move on, we can’t do too much about what’s happened. Just prepare.”

Water bombers used during the 2019 bushfires. Photograph Sandra McEwan Photography
Water bombers used during the 2019 bushfires. Photograph Sandra McEwan Photography

Significant January rainfall provided Mr Curr with some comfort, with the region recording 399.5mm of rain so far in 2020 – some 280mm more than the same period last year.

But Mr Curr said the region wasn’t in the clear, with warm and dry weather expected in the coming months.

“I don’t think it’ll be as bad, but there is a potential there for it to happen,” he said.

“We got a lot of rain after Christmas, so there is a big fuel load. When it dies out it could take off.

“But last year there was no rain, no water – conditions weren’t good, at least there is water around now.”

With the bushfire season typically commencing in August, authorities are urging residents to prepare now.

RFS south west acting regional manager Tim Chittenden said residents should put the final touches on bushfire survival plans now.

“The community should be thinking about their fire escape plans and preparing their emergency and evacuations kits,” he said.

“Bushfires can occur anywhere, at any time so we urge the community to take all precautions they can now to ensure they stay safe this bushfire season.”

Stanthorpe Border Post

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