You don't have to live in the bush to be threatened by bushfire, just close enough to be effected by burning material, embers and smoke.
Fires may be started through arson (deliberately lit), carelessness (e.g. discarded cigarettes, sparks from machinery, unattended fires), as the result of an accident or very rarely, as the result of a controlled burn. If you light a fire, on purpose or accidentally, you are responsible for controlling it.
If there is a long spell of hot, dry weather and it’s windy, the fire risk increases. Generally the fire season in North Queensland is through the winter (“dry” season) and spring months. If fire danger levels are rising in your area, information will be broadcast on all usual media and websites such as the Bureau of Meteorology, Rural Fire Service Queensland and Burdekin Shire Council.
Fires can move extremely fast – faster than you can run. They can also be unpredictable, for instance changing direction. You may find yourself suddenly in danger. Heat, wind, smoke and burning material blowing around may make it difficult to see, hear or breathe.
If lives or property are threatened, you’ll receive Advice, Watch and Act or Emergency warning messages.
- An advice message tells you a fire has started and will provide general information to keep you updated.
- A watch and act message represents a higher level of threat such as conditions are changing, a fire is approaching, lives may be threatened.
- An emergency warning is the highest level message advising of impending danger and you may hear the State Emergency Warning Signal (SEWS) first. With any fire warning, follow the instructions immediately.
Types of Fires
Grassfires are fast moving, passing in five to ten seconds and smouldering for minutes. They have a low to medium intensity and primarily damage crops, livestock and farming infrastructure, such as fences.
Bushfires are generally slower moving, but have a higher heat output. This means they pass in two to five minutes, but they can smoulder for days. Fire in the crown of the tree canopy can move rapidly.
Cane Fires are large controlled paddock fires that farmers use to burn off the outer leaves (trash) before harvesting sugar cane.
Check the following websites for advise:
Burdekin Shire Council www.burdekin.qld.gov.au
Burdekin Shire Council Emergency Dashboard https://disaster.burdekin.qld.gov.au
Burdekin Shire Council Disaster Coordination Centre Facebook page www.facebook.com/BurdekinDCC
Bureau of Meteorology www.bom.gov.au
Rural Fire Service website www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au
Follow the following steps:
BEFORE a bushfire
- Hold a family meeting to prepare your household Emergency Plan so everyone knows what to do, where to meet and how to get out.
- Prepare your Emergency and Evacuation Kits.
- Keep grass cut and vegetation clear of the property.
- Don’t dump garden rubbish in neighbouring reserves or bush areas.
- Move flammable items away from the house, e.g. woodpiles, boxes, hanging baskets, garden furniture.
- Keep access ways to the property clear for fire trucks.
- When warnings are given, act immediately on the instructions provided. Don’t wait. Leave when advised, even if it feels safe where you are at the time. Take your Household Emergency and Evacuation Kits with you. Go in the direction advised for your location.
- If sheltering in place, check fire extinguishers.
Whether your family plan is to leave early or stay and defend, take the following items with you:
- Long sleeve shirt
- Safety goggles
- Bottled water (enough for all)
- Battery-operated radio
- Mobile phone & charger
- Blankets (natural fibres)
- Passports & birth certificates
- Family photos, valuables & documents
- Children's toys
Your property should be well-prepared for the fire, even if you intend to leave early. A well-prepared property stands a greater chance of surviving.
- Tune in to warnings and updates on local radio, websites and social media.
- Move cars to a safe location.
- Remove garden furniture, door mats and other items from your yard.
- Close windows, doors and shut blinds.
- Take down curtains and move furniture away from windows.
- Seal gaps under doors and windows with wet towels.
- Bring pets inside, restrain them (leash, cage or secure room) and provide water.
- Block downpipes (at the top) and fill gutters with water if possible.
- Wet down the sides of buildings, decks and close shrubbery in the likely path of the bushfire.
- Wet down fine fuels (e.g. leaf litter) close to buildings.
- Turn on garden sprinklers for 30 minutes before the bushfire arrives.
- Fill containers with water - baths, sinks, buckets, wheelie bins.
- Put on protective clothing.
- Drink lots of water.
DURING a bushfire
If your family plan is to stay and defend the fire, preparation is the key to survival. Being involved in a fire will be one of the most traumatic experiences of your life. In making your decision to stay there are a few things you need to consider.
You will need to:
- Be mentally and physically ready and you will need to have a plan.
- Be able to withstand the impact of bushfire. Check the Specific factors which reduce risk here: ruralfire.qld.gov.au/BushFire_Safety/ Pages/ Know-your-risk.aspx
- Have well-maintained resources and equipment and know how to use them.
- Clearly understand what you will do to protect your property and life when the fire arrives.
- Discuss details of your plan with family, friends and neighbours.
- Prepare a Bushfire Emergency Kit so you will be equipped to extinguish small fires.
- Have basic protection from heat, smoke and flames.
As the front arrives:
- Disconnect hose and fittings and bring inside.
- Go inside for shelter.
- Drink lots of water.
- Shelter in your house on the opposite side of the approaching fire.
- Patrol and check for embers inside, particularly in the roof space.
- Check on family and pets.
- Maintain a means of escape.
- Continually monitor conditions.
AFTER a bushfire
After the front has passed:
- In an emergency dial 000 or 112 from a mobile.
- Tune in to your local radio station and heed warnings and advice.
- If you evacuated, wait until the all-clear has been given by emergency services before leaving your safe area.
- Consider using a face mask or similar (e.g. hanky, flannel).
- Check around the property for live electricity, leaking gas, sewage leaks, hot embers, overhanging trees or branches or structural damage.
- If unsure about the safety of the property, seek advice from local emergency services. Don’t take any risks.
- Drink lots of water.
- If you are stranded, hurt or need other help, contact emergency services on 000.
Also check for small spot fires and burning embers:
- Inside the roof space.
- Under floor boards.
- Under the house space.
- On verandahs and decks.
- On window ledges and door sills.
- In roof lines and gutters.
- In garden beds and mulch.
Bushfire Emergency Kit
|Long Sleeve Shirt||Jeans|
|Safety Goggles||Smoke Mask|
|Torch||First Aid Kit|
|Blankets (natural fibre)||Ladder|
|Fire Extinguisher||Knapsack Spayer|