Council is on track to spend more than $2.5 million on fire mitigation measures on the Southern Moreton Bay Islands (SMBI) since 2017.
Mayor Karen Williams said the fire management measures were an important component of Council’s annual disaster preparedness activities on the SMBI and in response to major fires on the islands in recent years.
“Major works have been undertaken on Council-owned land, and will continue, as part of our strategy to make the islands safer for residents,” she said.
“Council also works closely with the community and supports individual responsibility for fire safety on private properties.
“This includes community education and awareness campaigns and liaising with our Community Champions who help spread the safety message.”
This financial year, Council has budgeted almost $779,000 for all fire mitigation measures on the SMBI, including not only fuel reduction but also weed control, tree pruning, planned burning, fire trail maintenance and debris removal.
“This brings the total spend, since July 2017, to $2.502 million,” Cr Williams said.
“Following the implementation of all recommendations in the QFES Fire Management Plan Review Report, Council is planning an ongoing annual budget of $590,000 to maintain the fire management regime on the SMBI from next financial year – almost double what Council spent in the 2017-18 financial year.”
Division 5 Councillor Mark Edwards said it was important to maintain fuel reduction zones, located between privately-owned properties containing structures and Council-owned bushland, to ensure access for response vehicles.
“The maintenance program includes slashing eight times during the year and uplift pruning of vegetation, which also helps to reduce the fuel area adjacent to private properties,” he said.
Cr Edwards said there were also 44 fire trails on the SMBI.
“This network of about 23.5km of trails has been constructed over the past three years and more may be constructed as required,” he said.
“They are also subject to a maintenance program, with slashing and vegetation removal to ensure vehicle access and the application of rock hardening to some trail areas.
“Other fire mitigation measures on the islands this year include weed control, removal of debris and planned burns which are undertaken between April and September, weather permitting.”