Livingstone Shire Council will be holding a bushfire resilience and recovery forum this weekend. Pictured is Lyndie Scott. PIC: Lachlan Berlin
Livingstone Shire Council will be holding a bushfire resilience and recovery forum this weekend. Pictured is Lyndie Scott. PIC: Lachlan Berlin

Public invited to upcoming CQ bushfire forum

Lyndie Scott was lucky to escape with her children and horses when a bushfire threatened her Central Queensland property in 2019.

She did not suffer any loss, but her neighbours weren’t as lucky.

Ms Scott was coming home to Maryvale in the Livingstone Shire from the mines, and saw the extensive fire line and was really concerned about her 100 head of Droughtmaster cattle.

“We were sort of surrounded by fire fronts coming from the eastern and southern directions, so we didn’t have a lot of choices,” she said.

“Luckily, a neighbour opened the gates and we could evacuate our horses out, then get an hours sleep and then tackle the next day.

“It’s not really nice seeing your neighbours going through that.”

Sharing her story at a press conference at Yeppoon this week, Ms Scott said she was interested in attending a major bushfire recovery and resilience forum to gain some insight into research and tips to make homes less prone to these horrific natural disasters.

The forum is being run by the Livingstone Shire Council and Growcom on Saturday, and will be held at the Yeppoon Town Hall from 9am to 4pm.

Mayor Andy Ireland said it would be open to every member of the community and while smaller sessions have been held before, this is the first of this scale to be held since the 2019 fires.

“As chair of the [Local Disaster Management Group], I’d certainly promote the fact that these forums are important as people need to understand potential impacts of bushfires on their particular patch of the world.” he said.

Cr Ireland said they were projecting 70 to 80 people to turn up so far, but the maximum is 120 due to COVID restrictions.

Councillor Pat Eastwood
Councillor Pat Eastwood

Healthy and Inclusive Community councillor Pat Eastwood used to be a police officer and head of disaster management on Bruny Island in Tasmania.

“[The forum] gives us a chance to look at what happened in 2019, the devastation with those fires, and look into the future to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Cr Eastwood said.

The event will host guest speakers like Shane Webcke, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and the Queensland Farmers Federation.

CQU professor Kerry Walsh
CQU professor Kerry Walsh

Speaker and Central Queensland University professor Kerry Walsh shared some grapes among press conference attendees, which had a slight but noticeable smoky flavour to them, similar to the smoky flavour on meat.

But he said any crops exposed to smoke were not able to go to market.

“If you started to lose two of every ten trees, there comes a point where you have to cut the whole lot out because it’s just not worth having mixed,” Professor Walsh said.

He said mango trees took more than four years to get up to production and would need to be replanted from scratch if damaged by a bushfire.

Livingstone Shire Council will be holding a bushfire resilience and recovery forum this weekend.
Livingstone Shire Council will be holding a bushfire resilience and recovery forum this weekend.