Fire-proofing: Turning tinderboxes into defendable zones
THROUGHOUT winter and in these first days of spring, a thin veil of smoke haze has often settled over the suburbs.
Locals going about their day have likely given little thought to the source even though it could be the very thing which one day saves their family home or the life of a loved one.
Across the Coast rural firefighters are doing all they can to ensure the apocalyptic scenes beamed across televisions during the nation's bushfire emergency never become a reality for the people of the Fraser Coast.
Slowly, hazard reduction burns in high-fuel areas which had remained untouched for decades, are turning the region's tinder box towns into defendable zones.
On the fireproofing frontline is Craig Smith, first officer for the Aldershot Rural Fire Brigade, who told the Chronicle 15 burns had been carried out so far.
One was at Lenthalls Dam this week.
Mr Smith said 11 burn-offs were conducted last year, with 33 usually being completed before every bushfire season.
This year burn-offs started in April and crews started talking to property owners and clearing their properties.
"Any hazard reduction burn will also help control a wildfire and will protect properties from being damaged," Mr Smith said.
"Without it, you open yourself up to losing more property."
"Last year, fire season started early and we didn't have the opportunity to get as many done."
As cooler conditions have prevailed this year, burns have been conducted which won't damage the environment, but will reduce the amount of fuel among the scrub.
Last summer the fire crews were forced into a defensive position because of the high fire danger.
The combination of strong winds, the amount of fuel on the ground, hot temperatures and the drought, meant permits for controlled burns were cancelled.
Mr Smith said with wet conditions expected this spring, this year's bushfire season was not expected to be as bad as last summer.
But that means the opportunity is there to put the region in a good position fore many years to come.
Mr Smith said blocks wouldn't need to be burned for two to three years, unless there was a build up for fuel again.
"We try to rotate it around, depending on regrowth," he said.