Extra firefighters will be on standby in south-east Queensland this weekend, with all permits to burn cancelled as the region braces for the threat of bushfires.
Fire permits have been cancelled in the Ipswich, Scenic Rim, Logan City, Gold Coast and Somerset Regional Council local government areas as of midnight Friday, 10 August until further notice.
Residents are urged to remain vigilant and finalise their bushfire safety plans, with the fire danger rating set to climb to very high on Sunday.
Rural Fire Service (RFS) Regional Manager Alan Gillespie said the combination of prolonged dry conditions and high fuel loads meant the region was at risk of a long, active bushfire season.
“It’s tinder dry out there and we need the public to be vigilant, ready to act and monitor the situation,” Mr Gillespie said.
“This weekend is just an example of the conditions we can regularly expect to see in coming months, particularly in western areas such as the Ipswich, Somerset, Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley regions.
“We have more fuel on the ground than we’ve seen in a long time and soil moisture is extremely low with no immediate rain forecast.
“We are talking about conditions very different to what we would normally experience at this time of year - conditions we haven’t seen for some time, and conditions conducive to the rapid spread of fire.
“There is absolutely no room for complacency. Our crews are ready to respond but we need the community to play its part, take extra precautions and remain on alert.”
Mr Gillespie said such conditions meant even permitted fires would be difficult to control and pose a danger to communities.
“Landholders need to be thinking of other methods of mitigation to protect their property as now is not the time to be conducting hazard reduction burns,” he said.
Mr Gillespie urged residents to finalise their bushfire survival plans, including contingencies for pets and livestock should fire threaten their area.
“It’s easy to carry small animals but people need to consider their plans for larger animals or livestock,” he said.
“Prepare what you will do well in advance. Moving horses, cattle or other large animals at the last minute during a stressful situation could lead to tragedy.”
Mr Gillespie urged people to report any sign of fire to Triple Zero (000) immediately.
“No matter how small, please report it so we can get on top of it as quickly as possible to protect life and property.”
For more information or to find your local fire warden, visit www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au
Michelle Price has been working as a journalist since 1999 and loves human interest pieces.
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