Hot and dry conditions herald start to bushfire season
The rising temperatures and dry conditions forecast for this weekend have prompted calls for Queenslanders to prepare themselves, their families and properties for the 2017 bushfire season.
Firefighters are on high alert as parts of Queensland brace for abnormally warm temperatures and dry conditions in the coming days.
Very high fire danger levels are expected as a result of the predicted weather conditions and excess vegetation resulting from the flooding aftermath of Cyclone Debbie.
Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Mark Ryan urged residents to be vigilant under these conditions and warned unattended or mismanaged fires could create sparks and cause fires to spread quickly.
“Our more than 30,000 rural firefighters have been working hard since April putting in firebreaks, completing hazard reduction burns and running community events to prepare Queenslanders for the 2017 bushfire season,” Minister Ryan said.
“We also have two water bombing aircraft arriving in the next few weeks to assist our firefighters throughout the coming fire season.
“But bushfires can occur at any time and you don’t need to live near bushland to be affected so we are asking everyone to be on the lookout and to report any vegetation fires to Triple Zero (000) immediately.”
Minister Ryan said residents should finalise their own Bushfire Survival Plan and take steps around the home to prevent a bushfire starting and spreading.
“Major bushfires have occurred from Cape York down to Stanthorpe on the southern border, so it is important all Queenslanders take precautions now to make it through this year’s bushfire season safely,” Minister Ryan said.
“I urge all residents and those visiting the state to check out the Rural Fire Service website to complete a Bushfire Survival Plan and learn more about preparing for bushfire season.”
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Acting Commissioner Mike Wassing said a warm winter and rapidly drying conditions on the ground were an ominous sign for firefighters, who were anticipating a long bushfire season.
“In line with the findings of the Northern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook, firefighters are reporting above normal fire activity in parts of the state,” Acting Commissioner Wassing said.
“We may experience another long bushfire season similar to last year, which saw around 6,000 bushfires and lasted 198 days.
“We are prepared for this and the community needs to be as well.
“That is why Queenslanders need to make sure they spend some time scanning their properties for bushfire risks and making sure they complete a Bushfire Survival Plan so they know exactly what to do if a bushfire happens.
“Bushfire safety is a community responsibility, and the steps people take now to prepare will make all the difference when the season is in full swing.”
For more information about preparing for bushfire season and to prepare your own Bushfire Survival Plan visit www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au
To see current alerts and an interactive bushfire map visit the Rural Fire Service Bushfire Maps page - https://ruralfire.qld.gov.au/map/Pages/default.aspx