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Work Happening To Lower Bushfire Risk Following Evacuations

Ted O'Brien and Sunshine Coast Councillor Jason O’Pray at the site which will be cleared

An area on the Sunshine Coast that is prone to bushfires breaking out, will undergo safety clearing ahead of the summer.

Mt Coolum residents were forced to evacuate their homes in the summer of 2017 when a fire raged over sloping bushland.

Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien has announced $30,000 to construct, upgrade and clear fire roads around the popular hiking mountain in preparation for the danger season.

The money will be delivered to the Sunshine Coast Council to undertake the work which is designed to ensure emergency services have access.

“Mt Coolum is a beautiful natural setting but nature can present a fire risk,” said Mr O’Brien.

“I have previously witnessed the horror of a raging bushfire close to homes, and so I know how vital it is that we are prepared for the next hot season so fire crews can perform their roles without being hindered by blocked roads.

“We need to protect lives and homes and this funding will ensure our wonderful emergency service personnel who risk their lives in the most dangerous situations have the best chance.

“The money allocated through the Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Resilience Program (NDRP) will cover the cost of constructing and upgrading fire trails to improve access during bushfires.”

The Mt Coolum Fire trails project is among 72 projects sharing in $14.3 million in grants in 2017-18 in Queensland (the most disaster impacted state in Australia).

Sunshine Coast councillor Jason O’Pray said few things were more important than planning ahead for bushfires and other disasters.

“In recent history we’ve had bushfires throughout Mt Coolum and access is critical; there’s nothing more important than having access to where the flames will be,” said Cr O’Pray.

“Right up and down the sides of the hills of Mt Coolum there are properties and homes and families and young children and we need to make sure there is access to the amazing work the rural fire brigade do.

“They’ve got to be able to act quickly as well – bushfires are unpredictable and they must have access to any point on the mountain at any time.

“The fire roads also form a fire break which gives the fire brigade time and freedom to break the run of the fire.”

Michelle Price has been working as a journalist since 1999 and loves human interest pieces.

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