Planned burning fights fire with fire

27/09/2013

With Queenslanders facing a hot summer, new planned burn guidelines and improved fire management for the state's national parks will help protect the environment while making communities safer, Members for Pine Rivers and Kallangur, Seath Holswich and Trevor Ruthenberg said today.

"High levels of organic material can fuel disastrous wildfires in the warmer months, so it is vitally important we establish areas of decreased fuel loads in our national parks through controlled burns," Mr Holswich said.

New planned burn guidelines and improved fire management for Queensland's national parks will help protect the environment while making communities safer.
"To reduce the risk of wildfires, more than 47,000 hectares of protected estate in the South-east Queensland bioregion have been subject to planned burns by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service this calendar year.

Mr Ruthenberg said the southeast Queensland bioregion, which incorporates 6.6 million hectares, has a moderate to high rainfall (800-1500mm per year) with a substantial winter period.

"The main features of our bioregion are a coastal plain, major drainage basins and sand island masses," he said.

"While the South-east Queensland bioregion fire season is generally between September and December, September is the peak month for wildfires.

"During September, the bioregion usually experiences frequent westerly winds, low rainfall, low humidity and increasing temperatures, increasing the risk of fires.

"Rangers must be vigilant and capitalise on opportunities to burn as they arise."

National Parks Minister Steve Dickson said planned burning was more than a land management tool for our national parks.

"It's a real safety mechanism for lives and property," Mr Dickson said.

"Each financial year, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) invests around $7 million in fire management activities.

"These include a program that, depending on seasonal conditions, can see more than 700,000 hectares made safer through planned burning."

QPWS liaises with the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, rural fire brigades, Queensland Police Service, local landowners and Traditional Owners when conducting planned burns.

Further information on the department's planned burn program and fire management activities is available at www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/managing/fire_management.html.