Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) are urging south-west residents to be prepared and alert as fire danger rises to extreme in some parts of the region this weekend.
The warning comes in the wake of a dry and warm winter, bringing September fire conditions that haven’t been seen in more than a decade.
South West Rural Fire Service (RFS) Regional Manager Tony Johnstone said extreme conditions were expected around Charleville, and out to Mitchell.
He said firefighters would also keep a close eye on areas from Crows Nest right down to the border at Stanthorpe, and out to Dalby.
“It’s important for residents to remain vigilant with heightened fire conditions predicted in the coming days,” Mr Johnstone said.
“This weekend is not a good time to be lighting open fires, including campfires, and using machinery or tools which could spark a bushfire.
“One spark from power tools, farm machinery or a cigarette butt could be enough to start a massive bushfire.
“Any fire that starts will travel quickly, will be unpredictable and very difficult to control.”
Mr Johnstone said isolated storms were expected in parts of the region from this afternoon.
“These storms are not predicted to bring much rain with them, but they may produce dry lightning which could spark bushfires,” he said.
“We have extra resources on standby for the weekend, however firefighters rely on residents to report fire emergencies and to alert the fire service by dialling Triple Zero (000).
“The sooner you call, the sooner we can respond.
“It’s also important for residents to have as much information as possible about a bushfire incident when calling Triple Zero (000), such as the exact location and distances from landmarks.”
Mr Johnstone urged residents to ensure their family was prepared if a bushfire threatened their property.
“It is essential for everyone to have a Bushfire Survival Plan to detail exactly how to prepare and what action to take if threatened by a bushfire,” he said.
“The plan must be in writing, practiced regularly and take into consideration the ages and physical capabilities of everyone in the household, including children and the elderly.”
“Once a Bushfire Survival Plan is in place it is important for people to know what action to take when a bushfire approaches.
“This includes monitoring local radio and television for updates, locating bushfire kits, putting on protective clothing, drinking plenty of water and moving all loose furniture inside and cars into secure undercover locations where possible.”
Visit www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au for information on Bushfire Survival Plans and bushfire preparation