Fire is a natural phenomenon and wildfires can occur on parks and forests. Some fires have nature conservation benefits while others, particularly severe late season fires, can cause damage to property and the environment.
The department monitors wildfire risk and fire danger conditions across the land it manages to maintain preparedness levels and emergency response plans. This ensures rapid response to any wildfire event. Strategies implemented by the department to mitigate the risk of wildfires include:
- planned burning to reduce fuel loads, protect park and forest facilities and related properties, and conserve natural systems and processes.
- maintenance of an extensive network of roads and firelines.
- well trained and equipped staff to respond to wildfire outbreaks.
- a cooperative approach to fire management across the landscape with the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, other land management agencies and the community.
When implementing planned burns, reasonable and timely steps will be taken to notify affected parties of Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service's (QPWS) intention to conduct the burn. Community announcements through local media outlets will be used wherever possible and appropriate to:
- advise local community of the potential for smoke presence in the area.
- provide a standardised message to inform the community about hazard reduction or conservation management burns.
The QPWS fire management program is guided by a comprehensive Fire Management System—providing systems and procedures to facilitate planning, implementation and monitoring of fire management. Fire management is continually improved as a result of latest research and developments, and fire program review.
The frequency and intensity of burning is managed to maintain conditions suitable for native plants and animals. Park alerts provide advice on planned burning likely to affect public visitation such as camping or similar activities.
- Read more about bioregional planned burn guidelines.
In Queensland wildfires fires can occur at any time but are more severe from late winter to early summer.
Prior to the fire season the QPWS undertakes proactive wildfire mitigation programs, including:
- reviewing annual fire programs.
- maintaining and upgrading firelines.
- carrying out regional preparedness checks.
- updating fire response procedures and key contacts.
- evaluating wildfire risk and identifying priority protection areas.
- ensuring inter-agency cooperation and plant hire arrangements are in place.
- reviewing the adequacy of staff training levels, equipment stores, communication systems, detection systems and plant and equipment maintenance.
- fine tuning cooperative arrangements—inter-agency training exercises.
- implementing planned burns.
During the fire season QPWS closely monitors wildfire risk and fire danger conditions across the protected area estate and maintains preparedness levels relevant to the risk.
QPWS places the highest priority on protecting human life, followed by protecting infrastructure and environmental values. In extreme fire danger periods, parks and forests may be closed to remove potential threats to park visitors from wildfires and to minimise the risk of carelessly-lit fires.
Always observe fire restrictions in parks and forests. Report wildfires immediately to 000 (triple zero), as early reporting may avert a serious wildfire.
Updates on wildfires impacting QPWS visitor areas will be provided in park alerts.
The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) is the lead agency for rural fire management in Queensland. For more information on fire planning, safety and use of fire in outdoor non-urban areas, visit the QFRS Rural Operations Division website.