Ferocious blaze just start: Severe fires expected till rain
THE ferocious fire that raged at Stanthorpe at the weekend is an example of the severe blazes that can be expected in the region until we see rain.
Warwick Rural Fire Brigade Group's Alan Payne said the bushfire, which destroyed three homes and four structures after breaking out on Friday afternoon, was severe for early in the season and the risk of more fires was far from over.
"This is the sort thing we can look forward to,” he said.
"I can see us in for a long, high season unless we get rain and we'll be pushed to our limit in terms of our volunteers.”
Mr Payne said the fast-moving blaze burnt more like fires typically seen in the southern states and was fuelled by strong winds and drought conditions.
"It's just everything is dry and you've got even the trees are stressed, which means they're dropping their leaves and they don't have the moisture they usually have in them,” he said.
"Everything is ready to catch on fire.”
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services inspector Andrew Sturgess delivered his sobering predictions for the fire season in Queensland to a meeting of the Queensland Disaster Management Committee.
He pointed to extraordinary fire danger ratings for spring, temperature records 10 degrees hotter than usual for early September and the bleak chance of rainfall over the months ahead.
"We've never seen fire danger indices, fire danger ratings, at this time of the year as we're seeing now,” he said.
"Never seen this before in recorded history. Fire weather has never been as severe this early in spring.”
He said Queenslanders should prepare for the types of fires that usually devastate southern states, saying thinking about fire affecting your home when you otherwise didn't was the 'new normal'.
Mr Payne was on the ground at the Stanthorpe blaze and he urged people to look at the accessibility of their driveways.
Mr Payne said it became apparent at the weekend some residents lived in awkward locations, with narrow driveways and overhanging trees making properties difficult to access.
"With what happened at Stanthorpe and you're under the pump so you want to be able to get in quickly.”
To reduce the risk of fire, reduce fuel on properties, do not light bonfires and be careful with grinders and other tools that produce sparks. It's also important to have a bushfire survival plan in place.
With Jessica Marszalek