From Gary McCormack, Acting Assistant Commissioner
Queensland Rural Fire Service
Over the past 12 days Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) has attended 1,243 fires across the state. Many thousands of QFES staff, Rural Fire Service (RFS) and State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers and Fire and Rescue staff have been working day and night to protect and support the communities of Queensland. We have had support from every state and territory throughout Australia, with 1,161 people from interstate assisting with this incident to date.
The activity we have seen in the last two weeks has been extraordinary, with more than four million hectares of land burnt during this bushfire season. We have had 55 aircraft working to support ground crews, dropping more than 12 million litres of water and fire suppressant. More than 430 bushfire community warnings have been issued since the 22nd of November, and more than 50 Emergency Alert campaigns have been issued. These messages have reached more than one million devices, alerting people of the dangerous conditions and directing them to further information regarding the situation.
This activity has followed on from significant campaign fire events in North Coast, South Eastern, Northern and Far Northern regions.
I cannot express enough, my thanks to our RFS volunteers and staff across the state, for the significant effort of the last two weeks and the months leading up to it. I’d also like to extend my gratitude to families and employers who support you to undertake your roles. All of you will have contributed to the protection and safety of your communities, whether it be through responding to emergency situations, supporting crews on the ground or delivering community messaging. Without the extraordinary efforts of all services of QFES, the outcome for many communities, families and individuals could have been much worse.
While the worst of the situation is now behind us, we still have many weeks of recovery ahead. It is extremely important we take the time to review the recent incidents, debrief and ensure we implement any lessons learnt to assist us in improving our response and recovery into the future.
2018 has also been a significant year off the fire ground. It has been another year of progress and change within QFES, as we continue to develop as a standalone department.
Finally, with the festive season upon us, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you all of the importance of safety during this busy time of year. I ask that you ensure your safety, and the safety of those around you comes first. I wish all of you and your families, a happy and safe Christmas and New Year and I look forward to working with you in 2019.
Editor: Cairns News hopes the dopey State Labor Government will instruct the Environment Department to conduct fuel reduction burns across its massive national parks’ holdings each year when dry enough to carry a fire. The incredible amount of damage inflicted by these excessively hot fires will render the already burnt half a million hectares of so-called national parks as a useless, denuded landscape which will never return to its original state. The RFS could refuse to attend future national park fires, including Stradbroke Island because they are an extreme danger to volunteer fire fighters. due to decades of mismanagement by Brisbane eco-freaks employed by government.