Redland City Council has begun a full review of fire preparedness in the wake of the fire on Russell Island in December.
Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said the review would include engaging Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) to look at Council’s annual prescribed burn plan.
“Council has an annual conservation management plan based on expert fire preparedness knowledge to help reduce fuel loads across the city and protect life and property during a fire,” Cr Williams said.
“Through this review we will ask QFES to review our annual plan to ensure it continues to protect Redlanders.
“While the review follows the Russell Island fire, it is not restricted to just the Southern Moreton Bay Islands, it will look at our fire preparedness across the whole city, ensuring all suburbs and communities are well-prepared in the event of a fire.”
“QFES is the expert in fire management and so having them review our annual plan will give us the confidence that it is robust enough to stand up to any fire threat.”
Redland City Division 5 Councillor Mark Edwards said this review would look at fire management on Council owned land, with Council also separately reviewing the process of getting landowners to clean up privately owned vacant lots.
“There is no doubt overgrown private properties on the Southern Moreton Bay Islands contribute to the potential fire risk, with a number of vacant lots not maintained by owners for extended periods,” he said.
“Last year Council responded to 229 enquiries relating to overgrown properties on Russell Island, with similar figures on the other Southern Moreton Bay Islands.
“For each of these requests officers go to the property to assess the risk, where there is a risk they then issue a notice to the landowner asking them to tidy up the property and if this is not done Council cleans up the property and bills the owner.
“Council is committed to the safety of the island and we are looking at ways we can streamline this process and make private landowners more aware of the consequences of letting their properties become overgrown.
“The Southern Moreton Bay Islands are an active and resilient community who quite rightly want to protect each other and for this to happen all landowners need to do the right thing, including those who don’t live on the island.
“I will be attending the next Moreton Bay Combined Islands Association meeting along with our Local Disaster Coordinator Mike Lollback to discuss these reviews with residents and answer any questions.”
Mayor Williams said Council had listened to community feedback following the fire and enacted the reviews in response.
“This is all about community safety and a major part of protecting the community is listening to them,” she said.
“At the community briefing held during the fire we asked the community to contact us with feedback and questions and so far we have responded to more than 35 enquiries, including delivering 150 copies of Council’s Disaster Management Plan to island residents.
“The disaster management plan provides an emergency management response specific to the Southern Moreton Bay Islands and anyone who still doesn’t have a copy should contact Council so we can send one to them.
“We want to make sure everyone is prepared for an emergency, whether it is a fire, flood or another event; and the best way to do that is to get a copy of the disaster plan and use it to develop your own household plan.”