Coast’s top fire threats picked out for early strike
Noosa Council is ramping up its fire resilience as the first anniversary of a major firefighting effort approaches.
A key strategy this fire season is to engage with communities impacted by last year's bushfire events at Peregian Beach, Cooroibah, Noosa North Shore and Teewah.
Activities marking the anniversary of last years fires will culminate in Get Ready Week in October.
Noosa Council environment services manager Craig Doolan and economic management manager Anthony Dow have updated a plan in the wake of last year's serious threat.
"With last year's fire season fresh in everyone's mind, there is understandable anxiety in some sections of the community," they said.
"The intent is to use the anniversary of these events as a springboard to disaster preparedness for this year, to build on community connection and resilience and talk about recovery one year on.
"Council has also dedicated funding towards the development of localised multi-agency fire plans for a few of the highest risk areas in Noosa," they said.
Fire management priorities include:
- Peregian Beach Foreshore Reserve South which came under heavy fire threat last September will have a mix of new trail and fuel reduction zones established.
- Girraween Nature Refuge will have a containment line in the designated burn area created, as well as a small expansion area around the waste treatment plant.
- A significant new fire trail will be established at the back of the properties around the Heritage Park Bushland Reserve.
- A new development has restricted access through to Lake Doonella Bushland Reserve so a new trail will be developed.
- Dolphin Bay Drainage Reserve will have the existing fire trail widened in support of QPWS access for fire management.
- Weyba Nature Refuge will have a temporary control line established through heathland in preparation for a controlled burn.
Spending on fire trail building, widening and maintenance by council has almost doubled to $70,024 in its bushland reserves with a 71 per cent increase in budget for controlled burns on council-owned land to $83,094.
Areas to be targeted will be based on "new bushfire data and information, particularly in relation to climate change and the longer and more intense bushfire seasons we are likely to experience".
There are up to seven planned burns scheduled for the year depending on the weather conditions.
The highest priority burns areas are: Weyba Nature Refuge (very high), Noosa Landfill (very high), Beach Rd Nature Refuge (high), Girraween Nature Refuge (high) and Bill Huxley Nature Refuge (high).
"This has already proven challenging with regular rain in July making it difficult to conduct burns before it gets too risky to do so in 2020," the FMP update said.
"A controlled burn was completed at the Cooloothin Creek Nature Reserve in early May, and a burn at the Noosa Landfill site has been scheduled but has had to be cancelled due to it being too wet."
Council still hopes to complete this hazard reduction this month as it refines management responsibilities for 62km of trials, 178 bushland reserves covering 3469ha, with significant larger portions of native habitat at risk in national park and on private land.
The bushfire management plan will for the first assess risks for all reserves mapped as medium potential bushfire intensity and higher, not just areas above 10ha.
There are 33 council-managed bushland reserves with existing FMPs although Mr Doolan and Mr Dow note some have not been updated in years.