GOLD Coasters from the bush to the beach are being warned to do what they can to prepare for a potentially dangerous bushfire season.
With the official season almost upon us, firefighters are bracing for some of the worst conditions seen in a decade.
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Having already been called out to a cluster of grass fires in the hinterland, local firies warn the threat on the coast is very real.
Consecutive years of above average rainfall, followed by a dry 24 months, has resulted in extreme fuel loads across the southeast.
Rural Fire Service Queensland South Eastern Region Area Director Corey Bock said now was the time to exercise caution and to keep an eye out for firebugs.
He stressed that everyone understand the need to contact emergency services if they see a fire of any size.
“Call triple zero (000), even if you think someone else may have already reported the fire,” Mr Bock said.
“You may have further details that can aid emergency services to locate the fire or understand its behaviour.
“Bushfire arson is also something that residents need to be mindful of, so be aware of suspicious activity that might have led to a fire.”
Whether you live in the city, the urban fringe or in regional or rural Queensland, you should have a Bushfire Survival Plan ready.
Although hinterland communities and suburbs bordering the bush are most at risk, the Gold Coast is close enough to be affected by burning embers and choking smoke, as seen during last week’s large-scale hazard reduction burn around Hinze Dam.
Residents have been urged to clean up their properties to minimise risk when a bushfire strikes.
Mr Bock said survival during a bushfire was highly dependent on how well prepared you are before the event.
“I urge residents to clear space around their homes, fill any gaps in the eaves, around windows and door frames, protect any large under-deck areas with non-flammable screens and ensure they remove any fire hazards around the house,” Mr Bock said.
“In the garden, we advise you clear and remove undergrowth, rake up bark, leaves and twigs and ensure your property has cleared access for fire trucks.
“These simple actions can make a difference to whether your property survives a bushfire safely, or sustains significant damage. If we all do a little, we’ll accomplish a lot.”
To locate your Fire Warden contact your local Area Office. Details are available at www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au.
Report suspicious behaviour by calling Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, contacting your local police station, or lodging an online information report at www.crimestoppersqld.com.au.
For further information on how to develop a Bushfire Survival Plan, prepare for bushfire season, learn what to do when a bushfire approaches and download a bushfire survival guide visit www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au.