Hot, dry conditions herald total fire ban in region
PLANS to burn stacks or have a backyard bonfire will need to be put on the back-burner as the dry conditions worsen.
A local fire ban was issued earlier today in the Lockyer Valley, Somerset, Ipswich, Scenic Rim, Logan and Gold Coast areas after the drought index peaked even higher than this time last year.
West Moreton Chief Fire Warden and Area Director Paul Storrs said the fire ban would encompass the next few days, starting tonight.
"No fire in the open air is allowed, so you can't have a barbecue with flames, you can't have a bonfire in the backyard,” Mr Storrs said.
"Those words 'in the open air' are really important - that's how the law states it.”
He said, in addition to the ban, fire permits had been restricted as of August 20.
"That's going to be in place for some time - so nobody is allowed to get a permit and light stacks in their back yards, they can't do hazard reduction, they can't do big landscape fires,” he said.
He said the permit restriction was put in place after several fires became out of control in a single a weekend last month.
"We had six permits that weekend and, of those six, four broke out of their containment lines,” he said.
Mr Storrs said last year's bushfire season was "unprecedented” but this year was at risk of being even worse.
"The present drought factor, which is what we look at to determine how dry conditions are, is actually drier than this time last year,” Mr Storrs said.
"And last year we had unprecedented numbers of fires.”
The present drought factor in the West Moreton region is 165 and the factor for this time last year was 163.
"After 135, behaviour gets quite bad and we're in a very dry period and we all know that,” he said.
"So we're very dry this year and we are as prepared as we can be.”
Mr Storrs said from tomorrow, volunteer firefighters would be stationed around the district in case fire were to break out.
Mr Storrs urges anyone who thinks they have seen a fire to call triple zero immediately and said the fire ban meant it was important all fires were reported as quickly as possible.
"If I see lots of smoke and I know there are no permits out there, it's got to be a bushfire,” he said.
He said everyone in the area needed to be prepared with a plan in case fire were to break out close to home.
"Everybody who might be impacted by bushfire needs to have a survival plan,” he said.
For more information on creating a bushfire survival plan, download a copy of what you can do from the Rural Fire web page (www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au).
The fire ban will be in place from midnight (Wednesday, 12.01am) until 11.59pm on Friday.