Peregian ‘at risk’ from party kids lighting fires
Young people lighting fires in Noosa Woods and Peregian Beach have been putting the local community at risk.
That is according to Councillor Amelia Lorentson as council gears up for the coming spring one year after the shire’s most disastrous wild fires.
“I’d just like to reinforce our social responsibilities to make sure that we’re vigilant,” she said during council discussions for an upgraded Noosa fire management plan this year.
“I’ve been drawn to a number of incidents at Noosa Woods and Peregian Beach where youth have been lighting fires.”
Cr Lorentson said over the past three weeks two fires what been reported to her by residents at what appeared to be youth parties.
“I think we all understand what could happen,” Cr Lorentson said.
“We can do all we can to stop the fires, but these kids are the real issue.
“Between our police, who I can’t speak highly enough of and our local law officers, they’re all on to it,” she said.
Cr Joe Jurisevic, who is the Local Disaster Management Group deputy chair was also critical of locals who ignore the warnings on using power equipment during critical fire bans telling locals they must comply with these warnings this year.
“When they say don’t use equipment that can spark a fire such as grinders and welders and that, then we have to take heed of that and don’t use that equipment.
“That’s exactly what started one of the fires last year,” Cr Jurisevic said.
Council environment services manager Craig Doolan said a lot of this “community fire-ready” focus has been on bushland near houses and encroaching national park as council increases its fire access works.
He said the fire mitigation efforts were really stepping up now particularly with community concerns for the new fire season.
“The thing is if we get the same weather as we did last year and people go around lighting fires we will have bushfires again, (there’s) nothing we or anyone can do to stop that,” he said.
Mr Doolan said there would be an extra 6km of fire trails constructed, which were not
intended to provide a physical fire break, but to allow fire crews to access to attack fires.
“We saw that in some of our fires last year, we had fires spotting five, 800 (metre), even a kilometre ahead … you would need a kilometre break to get a true break in those areas,” Mr Doolan said.
“It’s important our messaging keeps going out to community, we will do what we can but the community needs to fix up your yards, clean up your roofs and make sure you yard’s in good shape.
“We had feedback from some of the residents at Noosa Banks, who have been somewhat critical of council in some areas with our fire response,” he said.
Mr Doolan said the only reason these residents survived the fires last year was because they maintained their yards so well.
He said the planned Noosa landfill controlled burn has already been cancelled twice, but council contractors were going out every few days to check the site this risk mitigation.
“We may get a third one in, our initial third likely site for a burn was the Wooroi Creek area in Moorindil St … that’s unlikely given how narrow our window is getting now.
“It’s a very complicated burn, so we’ve identified a few other burns we can bring forward if we get suitable weather,” Mr Doolan said.
Mayor Clare Stewart said council has been working in with community groups such as Lake Cootharaba Residents Association on their disaster management plans.
“It’s very important for people to take responsibility for their own works,” Cr Stewart said.
Council is meeting with Queensland Fire and Emergency Services next week to look at Noosa’s high-risk areas for a targeted campaign to address community fears and to bolster resilience.
Cr Jurisevic said this was an ideal time to roll out a campaign when the community was vigilant after last year’s fires.