Parched win­ter fu­els fast-mov­ing grass­fires

Haz­ardous af­ter dry win­ter

Balonne Beacon - - FRONT PAGE - Joshua Macree joshua.macree@west­ern­starnews.com

FIRE­FIGHT­ERS in St Ge­orge have bat­tled their sec­ond grass­fire in as many weeks af­ter re­spond­ing to a small burn­ing near Al­bert St on Mon­day.

This has prompted warn­ings about the risk of fires due to very dry con­di­tions.

FIRE­FIGHT­ERS in

St Ge­orge have bat­tled their sec­ond grass­fire in as many weeks af­ter re­spond­ing to a small burn near Al­bert St on Mon­day.

Two crews re­sponded to the emer­gency about 12.40pm, spend­ing roughly two hours bat­tling a fire on a large patch of grass.

First re­spon­ders set up back burn­ing op­er­a­tions im­me­di­ately af­ter reach­ing the fire be­fore it was brought un­der con­trol by 1.15pm.

Fire­fight­ers left the scene about 2.45pm.

Act­ing In­spec­tor Chris Mar­tial of the Goondi­windi area com­mand said res­i­dents could ex­pect more grass­fires through­out the re­gion due to the se­vere lack of rain­fall in the Balonne.

“The fire sea­son has come on a lot ear­lier than nor­mal so we’re start­ing to see quite large fires where we nor­mally haven’t seen them in the past,” he said.

“This is mainly due to the lack of a wet win­ter, bring­ing with it less mois­ture in the earth.”

While there is no sug­ges­tion the grass­fire was caused by a camp­fire,

Insp Mar­tial said ev­ery­one should be wary when camp­ing to mit­i­gate the risk of spark­ing a grass­fire.

“If peo­ple are camp­ing, make sure your camp­fire is not left unat­tended due to the dry con­di­tions we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing or a fire might spread quickly,” he said.

Fire bans have al­ready been im­ple­mented in some ar­eas of Queens­land, with Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices Min­is­ter Craig Craw­ford urg­ing lo­cals to ex­er­cise ex­treme cau­tion.

“Ma­chin­ery such as trac­tors, slash­ers, welders and grinders can start grass­fires, so any­one un­der­tak­ing work around their prop­erty needs to do so with ex­treme cau­tion,” Mr Craw­ford said.

“If you need to un­der­take these ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing dry con­di­tions, you need to have ap­pro­pri­ate re­sources to ex­tin­guish a fire if one starts.”

PHOTO: KAREN BERRY

PHOTO: KAREN BERRY

BURN­ING: Prompt ac­tion from Fire and Res­cue Ser­vices pre­vented a grass­fire in St Ge­orge from spread­ing.

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