Upper Amby graziers document a district fire plan

June 13, 2016

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Upper Amby graziers have come together for the first time to document a district fire strategy for the coming fire season which has potential to be "volatile" if conditions dry out.

Landholders met on Gill and Eunice Campbell’s property Claravale, Mitchell, earlier this month as part of the Queensland Murray-Darling Committee’s Landscape Fire Planning in Poplar Box Grassy Woodlands Project which aims to support fire planning in the Maranoa region. 

There are five demonstration sites on ‘Claravale’ where the effect fire has on livestock production, biodiversity and carbon is being monitored over the life of the five-year project.  

Mr Campbell said the field day was a timely precursor to the fire season.

“The field days are extremely good for getting neighbours together on the same footing and each one gives us the chance to brush up on what we can and can’t do with fire from the Rural Fire Service perspective,” he said.

“We as individuals need to get over our individuality and put some effort into working together with the various agencies around fire and this project is the start of those conversations.”

Mr Campbell said recent good rain in parts of the district had resulted in a high fuel load.

“If it goes dry it will be a volatile fire season as there’s a massive fuel load and most people don’t fully stock, but it could also turn out to be wetter than normal,” he said.

Project consultant Col Paton said the field day was a good opportunity to hear from Mr Campbell about the factors he considered before striking a match.

“Graziers inspected the fire sites and discussed implications for their own fire planning decisions on similar types of country,” Mr Paton said. 

Project manager QMDC’s Rhonda Toms-Morgan said fire was a key management tool across the region’s extensive grazing lands.

“Landholders are learning from each other about fire behaviour and what that means for land condition, biodiversity and carbon is essential for sustaining their production,” Ms Toms-Morgan said. 

“If graziers want to maintain or improve land condition, fire needs to be controlled, mitigated and carefully planned given our variable weather patterns, limited windows of opportunity to burn and the fact that fire does not respect boundary fences. 

“Decisions around fire use can’t happen in isolation in a landscape,” she said.  

With help from QMDC’s property mapping service, the field day culminated in a session where the producers documented a district landscape fire strategy – for when and where to burn. 

Ms Toms-Morgan said while the process was straightforward, it was significant for landholders to collaborate on a joint fire strategy which they could call their own.

"The strategy is a tool to secure agreement between neighbours while incorporating government agencies such as Rural Fire and National Parks and Wildlife services. It will serve as an important tool for landholders to plan fire with confidence and to reduce red tape,” she said. 

For the next phase of the project QMDC is planning a fire event where landholders can “burn and learn” on a local property.

Graziers wanting to contribute to the fire project can complete an online survey at:  http://www.qmdc.org.au/climatewaste-energy-and-fire/qmdc-fire-project-.html 

This project is supported by QMDC through funding from the Australian Government. 

For more information contact QMDC Climate Change Officer Rhonda Toms-Morgan, ph 0428 759 235

Toowoomba Office

127b Campbell Street (corner of Campbell and Bellevue)

PO Box 6243 Toowoomba West QLD 4350

P (07) 4637 6200 F (07) 4632 8062 E info@qmdc.org.au

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