Soaring temperatures and dry conditions put firefighters on alert

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Soaring temperatures and dry conditions put firefighters on alert

Firefighters are on high alert as parts of southern Queensland brace for abnormally warm temperatures and dry conditions in the coming days.

Rural Fire Service (RFS) Director of Operations Gary McCormack urged residents across the south-east and south-western areas of the state to be vigilant, with very high fire danger levels expected as a result of predicted weather conditions.

“Our firefighters are prepared and ready, but we also need the community to take extra care and be alert in coming days as warm temperatures combined with low humidity create dangerous fire conditions,” Mr McCormack said.

“There is a lot of vegetation out there, particularly in those areas that were affected by flooding as a result of ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

“On top of this, recent severe frosts, particularly in the Scenic Rim, have dried out grasslands significantly.

“Under these conditions, unattended or mismanaged fires may create sparks and cause fires to spread quickly, so we’re asking people to be on the lookout and report any vegetation fires to Triple Zero (000) immediately.”

Mr McCormack said landowners planning to light fires to reduce fuel loads on their properties must first contact their local fire warden to obtain a permit.

“Under heightened fire conditions, it only takes one unauthorised burn to get out of hand to threaten lives and properties,” he said.

“The Permit to Light Fire system is in place to ensure burns are conducted during appropriate weather conditions and managed safely. 

“A permit will detail when a burn can take place to ensure it is conducted in the right conditions, while permit holders must also notify their neighbours and the first officer of their local RFS brigade before lighting a fire.

“Tough penalties apply for people who light fires without a permit. Anyone ignoring correct procedures is endangering themselves, their neighbours and properties.”

With the potential for increased fire activity, Mr McCormack said it was crucial residents prepared their homes and properties now.

“If they haven’t already, I urge people to finalise their preparations and visit the RFS website to download a Bushfire Survival Plan so that no-one is caught off guard,” he said.

For more information on bushfire season preparation, local fire wardens, or Bushfire Survival Plans, visit www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au.

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