File photo of a bushfire
File photo of a bushfire Supplied

HOT DRY AND WINDY: Dangerous fire conditions to worsen

FIREFIGHTERS are urging Gympie region residents to remain vigilant as hot, dry and windy weather brings increased fire danger to the region.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Acting Commissioner Mike Wassing said yesterday crews responded to more than 40 bushfires state-wide.

"We are seeing those increased fire conditions and we expect them to worsen tomorrow," Mr Wassing said.

"The Fire Danger Rating will reach Severe and Extreme in Queensland's south west and south east tomorrow.

"These conditions will be challenging for our firefighters, and bushfires which start will be fast-moving and hard to contain.

"This is the first time this bushfire season where we will experience conditions like this, and our highly trained and skilled firefighters are ready to respond if required.

"We also have several waterbombing aircraft on standby, ready to respond from Toowoomba, Boonah, Bundaberg and Giru."

Mr Wassing urged residents to be alert and avoid starting any fires.

"We ask residents to avoid using outdoor machinery near vegetation during these heightened fire conditions, as one stray spark is all it takes to start a bushfire," he said.

"We are talking about any sort of machinery used in grassed or vegetated areas, such as slashers, lawn mowers, tractors and brushcutters.

"Similarly, we ask residents to avoid using tools such as grinders or welders during this time."

Mr Wassing said local fire bans were in place for Moreton Bay, Brisbane, Redland, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Logan, Scenic Rim and Somerset Local Government areas until midnight Friday.

"A fire ban for Toowoomba, Southern Downs, Western Downs, Goondiwindi, Maranoa, Balonne, North Burnett, South Burnett, Cherbourg, Gympie, Maryborough and Bundaberg Local Government areas will be put in place from midnight tonight until midnight Friday," he said.

"Residents should report any fires immediately to Triple Zero (000) and monitor bushfire warnings issued in their area.

"If a warning is issued, residents should follow the advice of QFES and other authorities."

For bushfire warnings, local fire ban information and preparedness tips visit www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au.

Gympie Times

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