Bundaberg a priority focus for fires
FIREFIGHTERS are zeroing in on Bundaberg ahead of this year's bushfire season in a bid to arrest a growing trend in the number of bushfires.
Bundaberg Rural Fire Service area director Bruce Thompson said a series of burn-offs had been planned in key locations in the lead-up to fire season, which begins in August.
Mr Thompson said the number of bushfires had increased in the past three years due to weather conditions, making hazard reduction burns essential to reduce the risk of severe bushfires taking hold when the season kicks off.
"Bundaberg rural firefighters attended almost 200 bushfires last season, up from 186 in 2015 and 125 two years ago," he said.
"Bundaberg is coming off the back of one of its longest bushfire seasons in recent memory and we may be looking at another long season this year, depending on weather conditions."
Mr Thompson said firefighters were hoping for good conditions over the next two months.
"We are banking on a drier winter to carry out hazard reduction burns at priority locations around Bundaberg, including at Coonarr, Woodgate Beach, Moore Park Beach and Booyan," he said.
"Mitigation efforts now will help local communities later with whatever this bushfire season might throw at us.
"It means residents may notice smoke in these areas, so they should close windows and doors and keep medications close by if they suffer from a respiratory condition."
Mr Thompson said a series of community education events had already taken place to complement planned burns and more events were slated to be held at various locations in the coming months.
Residents should identify and remove potential bushfire risks around the home to protect themselves and help firefighters ahead of bushfire season, Mr Thompson said.
"Helping to protect your property could be something as simple as mowing the lawn, removing dead leaves or applying for a permit to conduct a burn - it all makes a difference."