More able hands needed at fires
WHILE the State Government tries to hose down the rumblings about possible losses of rural fire brigade support like the Maryborough district office, at Tinbeerwah, the troops are more concerned about battling to meet a severe fire season with an under-strength roster.
Station first officer Brad Coats said the ongoing big dry in the Noosa hinterland would see the Tinbeerwah brigade having to turn out to call-outs with at most just 14 available firefighters, whereas he would like to see about 25 volunteers carry the load.
And the tough work environment is certainly not helping the cause. Due to away work commitments in the mines and Brisbane, not all the remaining active members are on hand as much as they would like.
And this season is shaping up to be a nasty one.
"We have been getting more westerlies and things are really drying out," Mr Coats said.
"We haven't had any real forest fires since 2003, so there is a lot of load stored up."
Mr Coats said there had been only minimal winter burn-offs carried out in conjunction with local property owners, so the more new recruits to help operate the fire trucks and pumps this summer the better.
Anyone interested in joining up at Tinbeerwah should call Mr Coats on 0407 337 099.
Meanwhile, Community Safety Minister Jack Dempsey said he was the victim of "premature circulation" after the widespread condemnation over planned cuts to the rural fire service, including the closure of 11 rural fire service offices across the state and a 57% reduction in paid uniformed positions.
Mr Dempsey told State Parlimament last week he had not approved the release of a new organisational chart sent out across the state to its members by the Rural Fire Brigades Association of Queensland.
"I have not approved the organisational chart released to members on Wednesday and will not until I am satisfied that it is in the best interests of all parties," he said.