Bush­fire sea­son awaits

Prepa­ra­tion the key to sur­vival

The Western Star - - Front Page - James Liveris James.Liveris @west­ern­starnews.com

UN­PRECE­DENTED weather con­di­tions com­bined with the ex­treme dry has prompted fire ex­perts to warn Maranoa res­i­dents to be pre­pared for the worst.

South­ern Queens­land’s bush­fire sea­son has come ear­lier than in any year on record and the Maranoa is no ex­cep­tion.

THE dust storm ex­pe­ri­enced on Satur­day was only the be­gin­ning of the dan­ger­ously dry and hot con­di­tions ex­pected for the re­gion in the com­ing months.

The blaze that en­gulfed Stan­thorpe has shown the south­ern Queens­land bush­fire sea­son has come ear­lier than in any year on record, as dozens of fires burnt across Queens­land.

Ru­ral Fire Ser­vice In­spec­tor and area di­rec­tor Goetz Graf said landown­ers and res­i­dents in the Roma dis­trict needed to be pre­pared for un­prece­dented weather con­di­tions.

“Our re­gion is pretty much from west of Du­lacca to the North­ern Ter­ri­tory, the Carnar­von area and New South Wales on the south­ern bor­der and we have very un­sea­sonal fire weather,” In­spec­tor Graf said.

“These un­prece­dented weather con­di­tions are ear­lier than ex­pected and are as­so­ci­ated with very dry con­di­tions, ex­treme dry soil mois­ture con­tent, hot con­di­tions and very low hu­mid­ity.

“We be­lieve lead­ing up to Christ­mas we may face more heat waves in the area.”

In­spec­tor Graf said look­ing at weather con­di­tions the bush­fire sea­son started early and landown­ers needed to have a plan in place.

“Landown­ers need to have a bush­fire sur­vival plan in place, which ba­si­cally means ev­ery­one on a prop­erty needs to think about where they are, what they need to pre­pare for, their evac­u­a­tion points, what they need to take with them in­clud­ing spare shirts, medication, wa­ter, what they are go­ing to do for an­i­mals on the prop­erty and com­mu­ni­ca­tions,” he said.

“Very high fire dan­ger rat­ing to se­vere fire dan­ger rat­ing is what res­i­dents in this area need to be most con­cerned about.

“Any hot work that could cause ig­ni­tion, in­clud­ing grat­ing, slash­ing, grind­ing and weld­ing, should be avoided.”

Maranoa coun­cil ad­vises res­i­dents to check any pre­vi­ous fires and ex­tin­guish hot spot­sas windy con­di­tions could reignite the for­mer fire.

If you see a fire and have con­cerns re­port it im­me­di­ately to Triple Zero (000) – the sooner QFES can at­tend the scene, the bet­ter.

PHOTO: CRAIG WARHURST

PLAN FOR BLAZE: Fire ex­perts urge the Roma dis­trict to be pre­pared for un­prece­dented weather con­di­tions lead­ing into sum­mer.

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