BURNING RUBBER: The car was a total write off.
BURNING RUBBER: The car was a total write off.

Holy smoke! Why you shouldn’t park in the long grass

FIRE destroyed a car within minutes on Connolly Dam Rd this week, sparking a grassfire that burned into surrounding paddocks.

The driver parked on the long, dry grass beside the road before walking to his construction job near the New England Highway.

Hazardous fire conditions caused the lingering heat from the exhaust to light the grass on fire, according to Warwick firefighter Darren Welsh.

“It isn’t that uncommon,” Mr Welsh said.

“It can get extremely hot around the engine and the tip of the exhaust, so if the grass is long and dry enough it can definitely start a fire.”

Severe fire danger warnings have been in place across the Southern Downs for the entire week because fast wind speeds, excess fuel and low humidity mean any small spark could potentially spread fast and unpredictably.

According to Mr Welsh, the driver of the vehicle attempted to move the car once he realised the grass had ignited, but it was too late.

“Once he started the car up he realised the brakes had already been destroyed,” he said.

“After the fire started there’s really not a lot you can do because the situation has already become hazardous.”

Should others find themselves in the same precarious situation, Mr Welsh advises calling the fire department and leaving the car well alone.

One crew attended the scene and extinguished the fire within half an hour, but Mr Welsh said the car was long-gone by the time they arrived.

Mr Welsh said Warwick’s long dry spell has created an environment where careless thinking can have dire impacts.

“There isn’t any moisture around at all so we’re really at a heightened level of fire danger at the moment,” he said.

“That’s why there’s a total fire ban in place.”

The firefighter urged residents to be mindful of where they park their car over the warmer months, making an effort to avoid areas of long, dry grass.

“At the moment anything from a cigarette butt out the window to a lightning strike can start a really dangerous situation.”

For more information on how to prepare for fire season please visit
www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au