Communications officer Christine Case on the radio to participants in the fire simulation.
Communications officer Christine Case on the radio to participants in the fire simulation.

Fire crews ready for a hot season

WITH the bushfire season looming, firefighters are gearing up to make sure there is no repeat of the devastating blazes that swept through the Gaeta area last time.

After some feedback from the local community on the way those bushfires were handled, firefighters set up a simulated fire exercise at the Gin Gin Showgrounds yesterday so locals could see how they worked.

Peter Hollier, regional manager of rural operation for Queensland Fire and Rescue Service’s (QFRS) North Coast region, said the exercise provided members of the community with an opportunity to watch behind-the-scenes operations during a major fire incident.

“They can see how we’re going to handle a fire,” he said.

It also gave residents the chance to meet the firefighters and senior operational staff informally.

“It shows we’ve taken on board the criticisms and concerns raised to build our capacity,” Mr Hollier said.

“In this exercise we had people in real time mapping a simulated fire, and looking at where it’s going to spread to.”

Mr Hollier said it was also a chance for the special operations branch to set up a large base camp outside Brisbane.

The base camp included army-style tents, amenities blocks, showers, sleeping accommodation and camp kitchens.

“This gives us the resources to support 100 people in the field,” Mr Hollier said.

“The days of going out to a fire and operating out of the back of a car with one or two people are over.”

QFRS North Coast Rural Fire Officer Neil Kelso has been in Bundaberg for the past month working with residents.

“It’s been a pleasure engaging with the community here. There are some unique challenges the North Coast faces in terms of fire season and it’s encouraging to see the level of interest the community has shown in preparation for this year’s fire season,” he said.

Avoiding sting of hidden stonefish

Avoiding sting of hidden stonefish

Disguised as rock, it is the most venomous of all fish species.

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