The effect of Cyclone Yasi in February 2011 dramatically altered the floral fuel arrangement in areas of Far North Queensland. The vegetation damage resulted in an added ground fuel layer of leaves and fine branching on top of the normal accumulation of leaves and grasses. Higher up in the sub-stratum, a horizontal thicket of snapped and broken tree trunks, branches and vines formed another fuel layer. Roads and access tracks had been covered in vegetation debris after the cyclone, and this vegetation had been swept into windrows on the road verges.
- Infrastructure Protection Burns, with special consideration being given to burning off windrows along the fire breaks and roads.
- Burn off windrows along the various access tracks, allowing fires to continue through the accumulated fuel load under conditions that would encourage the fires to self extinguish and provide a mosaic of burnt and unburnt areas while reducing the post Yasi fuel load. Special emphasis was on not burning into areas burnt in the previous year‘s fire program.
The desired outcome was achieved by FFEC, with threats to infrastructure coming from the possibility of wildfire in the long unburnt vegetation mitigated. Fuel loads were greatly decreased and a mosaic burn pattern established to refine the ecological integrity of the area in subsequent years.