Fire warn­ing for hot, dry sum­mer

Res­i­dents urged to pre­pare for fire sea­son

Bayside and Northern Suburbs Star - - FRONT PAGE - Re­nee McKeown

FIRES burn­ing in Bracken Ridge last week sparked the be­gin­ning of what fire­fight­ers are call­ing the worst con­di­tions in 20 years.

Strong winds and dry con­di­tions fu­elled a veg­e­ta­tion fire near Bar­rett Street and Quin­lan Street in Bracken Ridge which started about 11am on Thurs­day.

Po­lice and traf­fic con­trollers blocked off the road as fire crews bat­tled the blaze and stopped it from jump­ing the street or en­dan­ger­ing neigh­bour­ing prop­er­ties.

Ru­ral Fire Ser­vice re­gional man­ager Wayne Waltis­buhl said the con­di­tions were a one in 20 year event.

He said the Bracken Ridge fire was one of the ser­vice’s big­ger ones for that day.

“There was one east of Kil­coy in the Conon­dale for­est. One of our he­li­copters was try­ing to map it but they had to abort their mis­sion be­cause they cal­cu­lated the winds at 80km/h and it was too danger­ous to fly.

“This was a one in 20 year event when we get this fire dan­ger and winds com­ing from the west.

“The cur­rent con­di­tions are sim­i­lar to 1994 when we had a mas­sive fire come through the north­ern parts of Bris­bane.

“The com­mu­nity was un­der threat and fire­fight­ers were in­jured and in the Beer­bur­rum Forestry

$30 mil­lion worth of pine was de­stroyed.”

Bracken Ridge res­i­dent Shane Mem­bery said three years ago they had a re­ally bad fire in the neigh­bour­hood.

“It’s prob­a­bly just kids light­ing up again, it hap­pens ev­ery school hol­i­days.”

Last year there were a se­ries of fires across the north­side in­clud­ing in the Deagon and Boon­dall Wet­lands, and Bris­bane City Coun­cil has put up Re­port Ar­son signs around the area.

Mr Waltis­buhl said peo­ple need to be vig­i­lant dur­ing the fire sea­son.

“It usu­ally goes from the first of Au­gust to early De­cem­ber or even

Fe­bru­ary,” Mr Waltis­buhl said.

“The worst months are Sep­tem­ber, Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber.

“The winds are dry, land based and quite strong and we’ve just come out of win­ter, so the grass has dried out.

“This year could be quite a bad sea­son.

“The fore­cast for rain is not un­til the end of Oc­to­ber, be­gin­ning of Novem­ber. That gives us six to eight weeks of po­ten­tially no rain.

“We need 50mm to take away the sever­ity of this fire sea­son.”

Res­i­dents are urged to pre­pare their homes and prop­er­ties, lis­ten to fire warn­ings and tune into lo­cal ABC ra­dio.

“Peo­ple need to be vig­i­lant about what they’re do­ing,” Mr Waltis­buhl said.

“Ad­here to our warn­ings about the sever­ity.

“Peo­ple need a fire plan, should they fight or evac­u­ate, (and) what to do with pets, live­stock.”

For more de­tails or to pre­pare a plan visit www.ru­ral­fire.qld.gov.au.

This was a one in 20 year event when we get this fire dan­ger and winds com­ing from the west.

— Wayne Waltis­buhl

PHOTO: RE­NEE MCKEOWN

Fire trucks from Cherm­side, Petrie and Ea­tons Hill were among those fight­ing the blaze at Bracken Ridge.

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