Fire risk high after rain
THE South Burnett has been gifted with long overdue rainfall, but with it could come heightened fire conditions.
Taromeo Fire Brigade first officer Les Lee said the recent rainfall had worsened the danger of bushfires.
"When we get a bit more rainfall, the grass grows and creates a bigger risk as soon as it dries out again," Mr Lee said.
Rural fire officers and SES volunteers urged people in the area to prepare now, and not wait until a fire started before taking action.
Mr Lee said people should organise a fire survival plan, if they did not already have one in place.
"People need to plan for whether they are going to stay and defend their property, or leave early," he said.
"The safest option is to leave. If you are planning to stay and defend, you need to have proper equipment on hand to be able to battle it on your own."
Mr Lee said a person planning to stay and defend would need a water supply, in the form of a tank, dam, or swimming pool and a pump.
"You can't rely on an electric pump, because the power might go out," he said.
SES volunteer Arthur Dawson said precautionary planning in the lead-up to a fire was just as important.
"Make sure everything around the house is tidy, roofs are clean of leaves, and nothing is stored under the house because it could turn into a missile in a storm and debris in a fire," Mr Dawson said.
He also stressed the need to keep gutters clean.
"You may not be directly impacted by a fire, but the embers can carry a long distance," Mr Dawson said.
"If embers fall into a gutter, they can smoulder away and potentially create a house fire."
He said it was equally important for residents to get across the things they should not be doing.
"People should never throw cigarette butts out of the car window, and everything on your vehicle should be secured," Mr Dawson said.
"If steel flies off a truck and skids along the bitumen, it can start sparks, especially in such dry weather."
He said people should look out for their neighbours as they would themselves.
"Duck over and knock on the door to make sure they're safe," Mr Dawson said.
He said the volunteers were always looking for help, and asked anyone interested to phone Nanango SES on 0448 138 220 or Kingaroy SES on 0428 741 274.
For information, or to get started on a bushfire survival plan, go to www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au