Mayor calls for urgent Mount Gibraltar fire risk meeting

A build-up of “excessive” fire fuel on Mount Gibraltar will be addressed.

Councillor Ken Halstead drew attention to the issue at the February 8 council meeting with a motion to hold an urgent meeting with all relevant government agencies.

“You might as well put a sign up there at the inner bowl saying ‘Don’t come in, unless it’s at your own risk’,” he said. “Simply, something must be done.”

Mount Gibraltar falls under the authority of Fire and Rescue New South Wales (FRNSW). Southern Highlands duty commander Alan Gerrard said Fire and Rescue staff were aware of hazards in the area. “We are aware of that area and hazard reductions are definitely a good idea, being mindful of the effect on the environment and waiting for the right conditions,” he said.

Mr Gerrard said weather conditions were a crucial consideration when choosing the right time to undertake a hazard reduction.

“We have a couple of areas identified for hazard reduction, but it’s a matter of having the right conditions in the right season to be able to carry out the reductions with minimal risk to the community,” he said. “Because of the topography, the Gib area has its own particular risks. We do have to be careful when we do it.”

We are aware of that area and hazard reductions are definitely a good idea, being mindful of the effect on the environment and waiting for the right conditions.

Alan Gerrard, Fire and Rescue NSW Southern Highlands duty commander

The area is also reviewed by the Wingecarribee Bushfire Management Committee, which includes representatives from council, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Forests NSW, Department of Lands, Fire and Rescue NSW and private owners. All members work closely with the RFS and FRNSW to develop fire management strategies across the Wingecarribee region.

All councillors supported the motion, which also requests council staff begin maintenance and clean up as soon as possible.