Operating a simulated incident control centre from Highfields Fire Station are (from left) Acting Inspector of rural operations Michael Patch, mitigation and education officer Paul Storrs and Inspector of urban operations Paul Evans.
Operating a simulated incident control centre from Highfields Fire Station are (from left) Acting Inspector of rural operations Michael Patch, mitigation and education officer Paul Storrs and Inspector of urban operations Paul Evans. Kevin Farmer

Firefighters brush up for season

FIREFIGHTERS from the all over southern Queensland came together on Saturday for one of the biggest training exercises of the year.

With the fire season starting early this year, 70 firefighters got a head-start by testing control measures from their Highfields base.

Inspector of urban operations Paul Evans said preparation was key to keeping the region safe.

“The conditions are the worst for grassland fires that we’ve seen in 20 years,” he said.

“From about midday onwards it’s just one grass fire after another, and the fire season hasn’t even started yet.”

The exercise involved 17 land-based vehicles and one airborne “fire spotter”, testing communication efficiency over large distances.

Workers set up a simulated incident control room at Highfields Fire Station, capable of dealing with any natural disaster.

“This centre will be predominantly used for wild fires, but can be adapted for any major event,” Insp Evans said.

“We need to make sure the entire south-east and south-west divisions can communicate effectively if it all goes pear-shaped.”

Firefighters responded to simulated burns at Murphys Creek using flares to imitate a genuine bushfire.

A fuel-reduction burn was planned at Picnic Point, but was called off because of due to a mountain-top wedding.


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