Porcupine Reserve is "a ticking bomb" because Gunnedah Shire Council has been "negligent", a local resident claims.
George Avard delivered an impassioned speech to the council at last week's open meeting, saying his concerns about the risk of fire had fallen on deaf ears and something had to be done.
Mr Avard said the council had not maintained fire trails, so it would be difficult to reach fires if they broke out, and conflicting information led him to believe that not all of the necessary hazard reductions had been carried out by the Rural Fire Service (RFS).
He said he had raised the issue with councillors and local and regional RFS over the last 12 months and claims he was seen as an "alarmist".
Mr Avard wrote to the council this month outlining his main concerns and at the meeting said "everyone's sick of talk. We could have had catastrophe here. We were saved by rain".
Acting district manager of the Liverpool Range RFS, Myles O'Reilly, told the NVI there was a three-year burn program for the reserve, but only a section of the 2019 hazard reduction plan was carried out because of weather. It will be revisited in 2020.
He said the threat of fire to homes in the area, "although present, is manageable" because of the topography; natural and man-made breaks in vegetation; and varying fuel loading.
"If the RFS were to burn the entire reserve area in one season due to the vegetation type, we would be unable to hazard reduce the area again for at least another seven years," he said.
"Dividing the area into sectors provides a fuel-reduced area (barrier) in the prevention of bushfire over a three-year time frame. This in turn only allows four years in which the area will regenerate the ground fuels, a much more manageable time frame between hazard reductions."
Mr O'Reilly said in preparation for the 2019 hazard reduction plan, the reserve's fire trails were inspected mid-year to make sure all tracks and trails to be used during the three-year burn program were "traversable for the RFS vehicles" and "the report back was that they were".
He said the RFS worked with key stakeholders, including the council, to ensure they were managing fire risk in an environmentally responsible way.
Dividing the area into sectors provides a fuel-reduced area (barrier) in the prevention of bushfire over a three-year time frame.Myles O' Reilly, RFS
Cr Jamie Chaffey said he'd had many conversations with Mr Avard and had previously assured him of his support.
"We have a part to play but it's not as the dominant player," Cr Chaffey said.
He said the appropriate parties needed to get together and discuss the issues.
Councillors voted to carry out consultation with residents, Gunnedah Urban Landcare Group and the RFS to address the concerns raised and report back to another council meeting.
Mr Avard's other key concern for the reserve was what he claims was a lack of weed management by the council.
He said it was "infested" with weeds including Mother of Millions and African Boxthorn.
A spokesperson for the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (Crown Lands) said the council was the "appointed Crown Land manager for the reserve and has responsibility for maintenance, including hazard and weed management, and compliance with any regulatory requirements".