Locals urged to prepare properties as fires hit region

Date published: 18 September 2023

Townsville residents are being urged to clean up around their homes as three weeks of prime bushfire conditions are set to hit the region.

It comes off the back of a busy weekend for emergency services as fires at Julago and Oak Valley threatened homes.

Townsville Rural Fire Service Inspector Area Director Helaine Gordon said the conditions were ideal for bushfires across Townsville.

“The prolonged period of wet conditions over the last three years has created a prime environment for vegetation growth across North Queensland,” Inspector Area Director Gordon said.

“We have seen several fast-running fires in the past few weeks. These fires start and spread quickly, so we have been focussing on deploying multiple aerial and ground resources early in an incident to bring these fires under control.

“Crews are currently deployed to fires in Julago and Oak Valley, with multiple crews and fixed-wing aircraft working to contain these blazes.

“Any residents that are situated in an affected area need to review their bushfire plan and ensure their properties are prepared for bushfire. Please ensure you have defendable space around your assets and you have constructed adequate firebreaks.”

Townsville Local Disaster Management Group Chair Mayor Jenny Hill said a well-prepared home was easier to defend and reduced the risk to surrounding properties.

“With the high-risk weather season upon us, we have noticed some properties are still not prepared,” Cr Hill said.

“You don’t have to live in the bush to be threatened by bushfire, just close enough to be affected by burning material, embers and smoke.

“Simple things like clearing gutters, reducing vegetation along access paths, removing excess flammable materials like long dry grass and branches and ensuring there’s enough space for a fire truck are just some of the things people can do around their homes right now.

“It’s also vital people have a bushfire survival plan in place for if a bushfire threatens their property.

“Residents should also become familiar with the Emergency Management and Disaster Dashboard to keep up to date with the latest information on bushfires and what to do in an emergency.”

For more information visit the Emergency Management and Disaster Dashboard.

Residents can also visit the Rural Fire Services website for bushfire warnings and to find out more about preparing their homes for potential bushfire threats.