RESIDENTS in southeast Queensland, including here on the Gold Coast, are being put at risk by property owners conducting illegal burn-offs, authorities have warned.
Rural Fire Service Regional Manager Alan Gillespie said people who lit fires without a permit were putting their lives and the lives of others at serious risk.
“The Permit to Light Fire system is there to ensure fires are lit and managed safely,” Mr Gillespie said.
“We understand that some residents don’t understand the requirements, but those who do are unnecessarily tying up valuable resources that could be used to respond to legitimate incidents.
“It’s incomprehensible that some residents are willing to bypass a permit system designed to keep themselves and others safe from bushfire threat.
“We are anticipating another long and potentially dangerous bushfire season and prime bushfire conditions are already starting to take hold in parts of south-east Queensland.
“Under these conditions, it only takes one unauthorised burn to get out of hand to threaten lives and properties.”
Mr Gillespie said residents who didn’t apply for a permit were flouting the Permit to Light Fire system.
“There were incidents in June and now it’s flowing over into July – it’s not good enough,” he said.
“It’s occurring from Beenleigh down to Mudgeeraba and across to Grantham. It’s not prevalent to one area.
“Residents caught conducting unauthorised burns on their properties could face hefty fines or even imprisonment.”
He said residents and landholders must contact their local fire warden to obtain a free permit if they wanted to conduct a burn larger than two metres in any direction.
“A permit will detail when a burn can take place to ensure it is conducted under the right conditions,” he said.
“It’s imperative permit holders notify their neighbours and the first officer of their local RFS brigade before lighting a fire.”
Landholders can use the Fire Warden Finder tool on the RFS website or contact their area office to locate their local fire warden and obtain a permit.
Further details are available at ruralfire.qld.gov.au.