Fire season in Queensland usually begins in July and runs right through to February. Whilst bushfires in Queensland can occur at any time, now is the time for us all to really focus on preparedness both on-farm and across our communities.
Many areas across Queensland are coming off the back of a couple of good seasons and have experienced a hotter than average August which will potentially increase bushfire risks. The Bureau of Meteorology recently released their bushfire outlook which, unsurprisingly, has warned much of Queensland is under an increased risk of fire.
We all remember the catastrophic bushfire season in 2019/20 which had devastating impacts on over five million hectares of land and habitat, tragically resulting in 34 people losing their lives in addition to countless livestock and wildlife. We can draw on the learnings taken from this devastating fire event to ensure we are as prepared as we can be this fire season.
Make bushfire preparedness a priority each and every year, talk to your neighbours about a coordinated approach to fire hazard reduction, investing in firefighting equipment and accessing basic firefighting training to build skills and capacity in your immediate community.
Think about emergency power sources for your farming enterprise that could operate when mains power might be down and can be relied upon, if need be, to continue to carry out farm operations such as irrigation during and after a bushfire event.
Unfortunately, around half of all bushfires in Australia are caused by arson activity. Keep a watching eye and report any suspicious activity to help keep your local community safe. QFF members Queensland Fruit & Vegetable Growers (QFVG) have developed a useful glovebox guide to bushfire preparedness which has been based on many of their growers’ experiences and observations.
This resource is available at QFVG’s project delivery arm Growcom’s website, www.growcom.com.au. It is also worth taking the time to read through materials developed by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services planning portal at www.qfes.qld.gov.au to help you develop or review your own Bushfire Survival Plan.
QFF raised concerns about the upcoming fire season with the Queensland Government at a recent agricultural ministerial meeting urging relevant departments to not only ramp up preparations across national parks and other public land but to also ensure their preparedness plans are well communicated within communities.
Make sure your bushfire survival plan covers preparedness as well as procedures to follow in the event of a fire and a plan for fire recovery. It is important that family members, staff or any other people who may be involved in your farming enterprise, are aware of and are familiar with your bushfire survival plan.
Let’s work together and be as prepared as we possibly can be for this year’s bushfire season.