Blazing a trail for fire safety
  • Friday 20 June 2014

Prevention is the best cure when it comes to bushfires and Sunshine Coast Council is committed to doing what it can, where it can to reduce fire risk across the region.

Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said the Bushland Reserve Network Fire Management Guidelines had been developed by council to identify its range of responsibilities and actions.

“Council manages 528 reserves throughout the Sunshine Coast covering an area of 5450 hectares and these reserves vary in size from 397 hectares to less than one hectare,” she said.

“This estate is constantly growing via purchases of significant land through the Environment Levy and land contributions through the development approval process.

“With a finite resource base, council must assess fire risk across the region and focus fire management resources where the potential for large scale fire is highest and where adjacent community assets are most at risk.”

The main objectives of council’s Bushland Reserve Network Fire Management Guidelines are to:

  • Identify legislative requirements for council regarding fire management risks
  • Identify the process used to define areas of bushfire risk and how this applies to the Bushland Reserve network
  • Identify the range of actions council has available to address bushfire risk
  • Identify resources available to council to undertake fire management activities and the protocols in place for their use
  • Identify monitoring requirements to ensure fire management actions are achieving desired outcomes in regards to both community safety and the maintenance of ecological values

The guidelines were developed in consultation with key stakeholders such as Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services. Council commits around $230,000 per year towards fire management measures such as hazard reduction burns and establishment and maintenance of fire trails.

On average council undertakes 10 prescribed burns each year during the winter months, varying in size from small areas of less than one hectare to large scale landscape burns with adjacent landowners such as Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service that may cover hundreds of hectares. Council has also established Fire Hazard Mapping under the new planning scheme.