CREWS CALLED: A firefighter works to put out a vegetation fire. Picture: Contributed.
CREWS CALLED: A firefighter works to put out a vegetation fire. Picture: Contributed.

’Disbelief’: QFES deregisters fire brigade

A RURAL fire brigade involved in fighting last year's devastating Deepwater fires has had its registration cancelled.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services deregistered the Captain Creek Rural Fire Service Brigade on Saturday.

The move comes amidst a bushfire season predicted to have "above normal" fire potential.

A QFES spokesperson said a consultation process and audit found the brigade could not provide an effective, safe and sustainable fire and emergency service response.

"The audit revealed issues including poor behaviour, misuse of brigade equipment and poor financial management," they said.

"Members of the brigade's management committee resigned, meaning there was no functioning management committee in place to administer the brigade."

QFES said Captain Creek's response to the 2018 bushfires had no impact on the decision.

Captain Creek was one of many rural fire brigades involved in fighting the Deepwater fire that lasted for nearly a fortnight late last year and was considered one of the worst bushfires in Queensland's history.

 

The Captain Creek Rural Fire Brigade was the first in Queensland to establish Remote Area Firefighting Team to control the Captain Creek blaze early December.
The Captain Creek Rural Fire Brigade was the first in Queensland to establish Remote Area Firefighting Team to control the Captain Creek blaze early December.

 

Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said he was in "disbelief".

"(I am) overwhelmingly disappointed that these steps have been deemed necessary by QFES," Mr Bennett said.

"First allegations and issues arose after the Deepwater event in 2018.

"We've seen rumours circulated in the community for way too long - it's only fair that the people in that community are expecting answers.

"I have a lot of sympathy for the members who find themselves in somewhat of a limbo."

Neighbouring brigades from Agnes Water, Lowmead, Colosseum and Wartburg are covering the area previously serviced by the Captain Creek RFS Brigade.

Equipment used by the brigade will be distributed to other brigades in the area.

Mr Bennett said he had some concerns for the community's safety.

"It's not ideal to have one less brigade particularly in the height of the fire season," he said.

 

 

QFES photo of the Deepwater fire in action
QFES photo of the Deepwater fire in action

 

Wartburg station first officer Judy Ferrari said the brigade would do its best to look after the Captain Creek area.

"We'll pick up the slack and hopefully it won't be long until they are re-established," she said.

Mr Bennett also hoped there was potential to reopen the brigade.

"Captain Creek has one of the largest memberships and was one of the best performing brigades on the ground on a number of occasions," he said.

"Our only focus is to have them back, have them well resourced and make sure they have a cohesive team. "

QFES will invite Captain Creek residents to a public meeting at a later date to discuss the potential of re-forming a rural brigade.

The QFES spokesperson said if all requirements were met it would consider the registration of another rural fire brigade in the area.