‘Above normal’ bushfire potential for Mackay Whitsunday
Above normal fire potential has been forecast for parts of Central Queensland, including Mackay Isaac Whitsunday, in the coming months.
The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre has released its Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for March to May.
It warned hot and windy autumn days would increase the fire risk in some locations.
"In the coming months, below normal fire potential can be expected in parts of Victoria and far northern Queensland due to wet conditions and damp vegetation and soils," the report said.
"In contrast, dry conditions mean that parts of central and southern Queensland inland from the coast have been assessed as above normal fire potential.
"The risk of grass and crop fires continues in the coming months, particularly where the rain has fallen over summer to create good growing conditions."
Federal Labor spokesman for emergency management Murray Watt said the report showed why Queenslanders needed to be prepared for all types of natural disasters.
"It's a solid reminder for locals to prepare their properties and have a bushfire plan in place," Mr Watt said.
"Unfortunately we know the Morrison Government hasn't been doing its share when it comes to disaster-proofing the Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday region."
He said the Morrison Government was yet to spend a cent on disaster prevention projects like fire breaks, cyclone shelters and evacuation centres from its $4 billion Emergency Response Fund.
Mr Watt said this was despite the money being announced almost two years ago.
"This money needs to be released immediately, so it can start creating jobs and protecting communities," he said.
The Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook is produced quarterly to be used by fire authorities to make strategic decisions for year-round fire management such as resource planning and prescribed fire management to reduce the negative impacts of bushfire.
Dawson MP George Christensen was approached for comment but was unable to respond before deadline.