LISTEN UP: Firefighters ask farmers to protect their properties sensibly after the Granite Belt fires.
LISTEN UP: Firefighters ask farmers to protect their properties sensibly after the Granite Belt fires. Bianca Hrovat

Fireys beg farmers to put down their matches

FIREFIGHTERS are warning producers to think twice about what they stand to lose if they disobey fire bans this season.

Following outrage after Wallangarra police reported a Toowoomba man burning off on his Fletcher property on Saturday, Maryvale rural firefighter Mal Stacey said irresponsible actions would cause farmers more harm than good.

"It's very foolish, without a doubt,” Mr Stacey said.

"It's not going to end well. Matches should be well put away by now.”

Despite some producers complaining that a total ban on permitted burns, which came into action in early August, cut their fire season preparation short, Mr Stacey said controlled burning should have been completed well before winter ended.

"Normally, you try to control burn when it won't run overnight,” Mr Stacey said.

"In my experience, this time is too hot, and won't do the ground any good. It's too late, it should have been completed by late July.”

Luckily, within his own jurisdiction, Mr Stacey said he had seen the opposite attitude towards fire, following the Granite Belt blazes.

"When anyone sees smoke, they're making phone calls straight away and they're very conscious,” he said.

"That they're that nervous is good, in regards to how seriously they're taking it.”

Given the severity this upcoming fire season presents, Mr Stacey didn't want producers to become complacent or disregard fire preparation altogether, but to use alternative methods that didn't include burning off.

According to Mr Stacey, such preparations included keeping property tidy and well-maintained, ensuring fire services have sufficient access to farms, shifting flammable material away from sheds, and having water supplies ready for firefighters to use if available.

Mr Stacey also said precautions were doubly important to heed if farmers intended to stay and fight in the case of a bushfire.

"You have to be prepared with the right type of clothing and resources, such as water and hoses, and be physically capable,” he said.

"There's a lot of smoke and heat and stress and physical work, and farmers need to bear that in mind if they stay.”

As Mr Stacey said, in the case of fire, there is no such thing as being over prepared.

"It's better to tick all the boxes, a lot better than to tick none.”

For more information about fire safety, fire plans or the current fire ban in the Southern Downs, check out the QFES website.



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