Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland met with Queensland Fire and Emergency Service staff about making the state's vegetation management act
Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland met with Queensland Fire and Emergency Service staff about making the state's vegetation management act "more flexible”. John McCutcheon

Fanning winds of change for 'inflexible' fire rules

THE QUEENSLAND Government is considering changing inflexible fire rules that are putting lives and properties at risk across our region.

This paper recently reported our region's volunteer firefighters wanted a re-think of fire safety and environment regulations before the "one-hat-fits-all” legislation killed someone.

Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland has confirmed it held talks with Queensland Fire and Emergency Service about making the state's vegetation management act "more flexible”.

Fire experts say the region's property owners are hamstrung by vegetation clearance rules that do not reflect our area's diverse flora and topography.

Currently, all property owners must clear bush and trees to a maximum distance from the buildings of 20m or 1.5 times the height of the tallest vegetation adjacent to the buildings, whichever is greater.

If they remove more than this, they can be penalised for damaging the environment.

Often this limited clearance zone means properties are at greater risk of destruction because there is not enough room for fire trucks to enter safely to fight the blaze.

There is also concern that people building on steep slopes cannot have a larger clear area and yet fire travels faster uphill.

"The RFBAQ's position is to try and ensure that there is a reasonable and rational balance to ensure the safety of people, property and the environment,” general manager Justin Choveaux said.

The RFBAQ met with government recently and since then a working group has been formed.

The group has representatives from the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, the Department of Natural Resources and Mines and the Queensland Herbarium.

It will deliver its recommendations later this year.

- News Regional


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