DRY PUTS FIRIES ON RED ALERT

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - SA­MAN­THA HEALY sa­man­tha. healy@ news. com. au

NORTH Queens­land fire­fight­ers are brac­ing for a busy bush­fire sea­son with the latest out­look sug­gest­ing parts of the re­gion will ex­pe­ri­ence se­vere con­di­tions.

The Bush­fire and Nat­u­ral Haz­ards Co­op­er­a­tive Re­search Cen­tre ( CRC) re­leased the North­ern Aus­tralia Sea­sonal Bush­fire Out­look this week, with assess­ments in­di­cat­ing above nor­mal fire po­ten­tial for parts of north­ern and north­west Queens­land.

The as­sess­ment shows an area stretch­ing from Kowanyama south to about Bou­lia and west to the Queens­land- North­ern Ter­ri­tory bor­der.

The re­gion, which in­cludes Clon­curry and Mount Isa, is con­sid­ered at risk of an above nor­mal fire sea­son.

Over­all, sub­stan­tial parts of the re­gion also re­ceived well be­low av­er­age rain­fall, in­clud­ing Townsville.

“Ar­eas around Townsville, cen­tral and western Cape York Penin­sula and the south­ern coast of the Gulf of Car­pen­taria con­tinue to ex­pe­ri­ence se­vere rain­fall de­fi­cien­cies,” Ru­ral Fire Ser­vice Queens­land ( RFSQ) Act­ing North­ern Re­gional Man­ager Gavin Fr­yar said.

“This lack of rain, cou­pled with an of­fi­cial El Niño dec­la­ra­tion means there is the real po­ten­tial for this bush­fire sea­son to be a busy pe­riod for our fire­fight­ers.

Queens­land’s bush­fire sea­son of­fi­cially starts on Au­gust 1.

Mr Fr­yar said res­i­dents should use the re­main­ing time to re­duce the fire risks on their prop­er­ties and en­sure their Bush­fire Sur­vival Plan was up to date.

“Some ar­eas are more at risk than oth­ers but no­body can af­ford to be com­pla­cent about bush­fire prepa­ra­tion,” he said.

The fire dan­ger rat­ing in the Herbert and Lower Bur­dekin is ex­pected to re­main “high” for the next few days at least, with no rain on the hori­zon.

In­land frosts are also ex­pected to cause fur­ther cur­ing of al­ready tin­derdry grasses out west.

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