Tempers flare at first fire resilience workshop

Agencies promise crews and machines to clean up bushland if communities help.

OCTOBER 2025 – Tempers flared at the first ‘healthy range’ workshop in the D’Aguliar range west of Brisbane last night when some residents insisted that agencies “do better” at managing the environment.

The workshop, organised by local residents’ associations, included representatives of the local council, state environment department, and fire and emergency service. It was the first attempt by the community and agency to share responsibility for the management of the land that surrounds the villages of Mount Glorious and Mount Nebo. 

During the workshop, agencies reported on efforts over the past year, including two successful planned burns across nearly 20 hectares of state-managed land adjoining residential areas. 

Key tasks for the community in the coming year included reducing fuel loads around homes, improving building infrastructure, and developing personal evacuation plans.

This prompted a tense response from a handful of residents who said they had heard the same thing for years and that such measures were pointless.

“The ridges are thick with lantana, the forest is dense, the impact of bellbirds is obvious, nothing I can do on my house block can counter that,” said one resident.

Another accused the agencies of neglecting their responsibilities: “This is sick country, the trees are sick, the forest is losing its structure because of a lack of fire in the landscape.”

An environment department representative responded, saying fire was a key tool in land management but conditions needed to be right and many people in the community did not support burning. 

“There are many people who are very concerned about fire. Their voices may not be as loud, but they are worried.”

Another resident said this was “just another example of agencies using community concerns as an excuse not to act. You can and should do better.”

Tensions eased when another resident pointed out the risk of burning sick country.

“Ok, so say we burn the ridges, the wind picks up, and the fire heads straight to homes on the Mount Glorious Road. What then? A fire could do a lot of damage before any support arrives.”

“If it arrives at all?”

“If the road isn’t blocked.”

“If the Rural Fire guys can even get to their truck in time.”

The discussion then shifted to how best to improve the state of the ridges along the range using manual clearing and burning.

A series of working bees were planned for six Sundays over the next three months to clear a 5km section of bushland near a key evacuation route. Both the council and environment department said they would send crews and machines to match the number of community volunteers.

“We’ll do this together, or not at all.”

Find out more

Sharing responsibility in Australian disaster management, Bushfire CRC

Changing the rules of the game: Mechanisms that shape responsibility-sharing from beyond Australian fire and emergency management, Australian Disaster Resilience Knowledge Hub

Governments love to talk about ‘shared responsibility’ in a disaster – but does anyone know what it means? The Conversation

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