Preparations underway in lead-up to fire season on Magnetic Island

Issued: 1 June 2020

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) has commenced preparations for the upcoming fire season with a series of planned burns due to be conducted between now and October.

A fire management program grounded in wildfire prevention is an important element in the management of the Magnetic Island landscape. This proactive program aims to promote natural diversity in habitats and ecosystems and helps build the land's resilience to climate change.

Ranger in Charge Patrick Centurino said undertaking the planned burns now allows QPWS staff to address any risk across the landscape, including excess fuel loads and those areas that may be vulnerable to wildfire.

"Planned burns are generally undertaken in the cooler months in order to take advantage of favourable conditions. They are generally considered to be cooler, low intensity and slower moving fires compared to wildfires which tend to occur later in the year and are hotter, of higher intensity and faster moving.

"The objective of our planned burns is to create a mosaic of burnt and unburnt vegetation to assist in maintaining healthy ecosystems and refugia for wildlife. This strategy also includes vegetation communities which are adaptive to fire and along with bushland, will regenerate after the burn," Mr Centurino said.

Planned burns also aim to assist in the reduction of fuel load, protecting property and infrastructure and minimising the opportunity for wildfire.

"QPWS is well prepared for fire management and all our Magnetic Island burn activities are based on a scientific and comprehensive strategy combined with traditional ecological knowledge. Weather conditions are also closely monitored to determine appropriate times and areas to conduct burns," he said.

The QPWS fire management operation is conducted in cooperation with other fire authorities on the island including Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, Rural Fire Service, State Emergency Service, Queensland Police Service, Townsville City Council and Wulgurukaba First Nation People.

"We thank our partners for their continued assistance, particularly the Wulgurukaba First Nations People who have historically used fire to manage country on Magnetic Island," Mr Centurino said.

QPWS uses a variety of methods to alert the community to planned burns, including Park Alerts and smoke advice alerts to local media

Members of the community are asked to take the necessary precautions in the lead up to and during planned burns.

"We would ask the community, particularly anyone who may suffer respiratory issue to ensure their windows are closed during the burns," he said.

QPWS will erect signage to alert the community as the burns commence.

View Park Alerts for the latest information and updates.