PLAN AHEAD: Animal owners are being urged to prepare a plan for their animals this fire season.
PLAN AHEAD: Animal owners are being urged to prepare a plan for their animals this fire season. Brenda Strong GLA021011FIRE

Prepare to keep your animals safe this fire season

RSPCA Queensland is urging people to include animals in their emergency plan this bushfire season.

With fires already significantly impacting the Lockyer Valley and Somerset regions, it is a timely reminder for owners to have a plan in place to ensure all animals have the best chance of survival.

RSPCA spokesperson Michael Beatty said preparation was key to ensuring the safety of both humans and animals.

"The problem is with bushfires they can spring up unexpectedly and spread very quickly - it really is a matter of planning ahead,” Mr Beatty said.

"The best scenario is if you think you and your pets are going to be at risk is to try and move them out to somewhere that's going to be safe.”

Owners evacuating their properties are urged to arrange an alternate location for their animals as emergency centres often don't accept them.

"We believe that all evacuation centres should accept pets but they don't so they just need to think ahead,” he said.

"If you know somewhere or you've got a friend or relative that you'll be able to take the pet to that will obviously be the best thing to do and it's the same with livestock.

"Quite a few graziers open the gates to give them a chance to get away.”

RSPCA also advised owners who choose to move their animals, to do so early to avoid unnecessary risk.

Valley Livestock Services owner Mark Hohenhaus said livestock owners could decrease the risk of fire by keeping vegetation low to minimise fuel ignition.

"What I would suggest is that they have some sort of fire break around their property,” Dr Hohenhaus said.

"This might be achieved by slashing along fence lines and perhaps cultivating where possible around the fence line.”

In the event of a bushfire, Dr Hohenhaus said livestock could be relocated to stockyards that had low vegetation growth and access to water.

"Try and get them to an area which is fairly denuded of vegetation where the fire is likely to be less fierce,” he said.

"The only other option is opening fences and gates.”

If animals are left on the property the RSPCA has advised owners to leave adequate amounts of food and water and not to tie the animals up.

In the event of an emergency human safety should be prioritised and authorities should be notified if animals are left behind.