WARNING: The Central Highland region is still at risk of bush fires.
WARNING: The Central Highland region is still at risk of bush fires. John McCutcheon

Fire risk not dampened

IN THE wake of recent rain, it would be easy to miscalculate the region's current fire risk, but firefighters are warning residents not to "underestimate” conditions.

Acting station officer for Emerald Fire Station Peter Carroll said this week that, despite wet conditions, it would only take about a week for grass fires to become problematic.

"The dry storms are also a problem because the lightning lights fires,” Mr Carroll said.

"People need to be vigilant as there's still dead foliage underneath the green growth. Within a week, the grass will still burn.”

He said that once the long grass died, there would be more fuel for fires on the ground.

"Now's the time to mow the grass and keep the growth around your fence lines clean.”

Mr Carroll said it was crucial that urban residents whose properties backed on to reserves and fire breaks ensured any grass that grew up to their fences was well managed.

"Also make sure you clear your gutters and you have your evacuation plans in place.”

Mr Carroll said people on 5-10 acre blocks needed to keep their properties clean and tidy and decide in advance whether their fire plan would be to leave or stay and defend their property if there was an emergency.

"You need to have that clear in your mind. 'Prepare, act and survive' we call it. Practise your evacuation plans with the family and make sure they know where you're going to meet in the case of a fire.”

He said it was important children understood what to do and where to meet if there was a fire.

Central Queensland is expecting a dry 'wet' season with hot temperatures, and Mr Carroll said fires should not be lit because even a spark, or embers from an incinerator, could start a blaze.

"Don't light fires and, if you do, make sure you get a permit so it's done safely. You've really got to think that if it's a hot, dry day ... just don't do it.

"Potentially, in a worst-case scenario, lives can be lost.

"The most common are grass fires, and people think they're doing the right thing with a burn-off for rubbish or after cutting a tree down. But the weather conditions can change and all of a sudden you've got a huge fire on your hands.”

A spokesperson for the Bureau of Meteorology this week said temperatures this weekend were expected to be hot - around 37-38 degrees - with a few cloudy days but no rain in sight.


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