FIRE BANS EXTENDED IN CENTRAL AND NORTHERN QUEENSLAND
High to severe fire conditions in the state's northern and central regions have prompted the extension of fire bans in those areas, Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts announced this afternoon.
(Media-Newswire.com) - High to severe fire conditions in the state’s northern and central regions have prompted the extension of fire bans in those areas, Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts announced this afternoon.
Mr Roberts said improved weather conditions in southern areas of Queensland had prompted the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service to lift fire bans in the South East, South West, Brisbane and North Coast regions, from midnight tonight.
“Fire bans will remain in place in 11 local government areas until midnight Monday, October 12. They have been extended to include the Charters Towers, Flinders and Richmond council areas,” he said.
“The local government areas where fire bans remain are Banana, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Central Highlands, Woorabinda, Isaac, Mackay, Hinchinbrook, Townsville, Whitsunday and Burdekin.
“People living in these local government areas are not permitted to light any fires, including permit fires.
“Residents are reminded that we are still in the middle of an intense bushfire season and there is still a need to remain vigilant and exercise caution.
“Weather conditions will continue to be monitored over coming days and there is a chance fire bans will return later in the week to areas where they have been lifted.”
Mr Roberts said it was vital people called triple zero ( 000 ) immediately if they saw a fire.
“Since the start of heightened fire activity on September 23, there have been more than 10,500 firefighter activations to battle a total of 1,847 vegetation fires across Queensland,” he said.
“The QFRS has utilised a variety of equipment including heavy plant equipment, rural and urban fire appliances and aircraft to contain the fires.”
Acting Assistant Commissioner Rural Operations Paul Adcock said residents in central and northern Queensland needed to remain on high alert for fires.
“Under the current weather conditions in these areas fires can threaten areas suddenly and without warning,” he said.
“There are several fires currently burning in these areas within containment lines and these are being monitored by local fire crews.”
“In the last two weeks, property lost has included two sheds at Calcium, a house and a shed at Booyal, and a shed and 80 hectares of cane at Mt Ossa.”
Mr Adcock encouraged residents to discuss their bushfire plans with their families in case they are faced with a fire emergency.
“Those who plan to leave should finalise their options and be prepared to leave if necessary.
“The safest option is always to leave early rather than to stay and defend and residents need to be aware that the risks of staying to defend include the risk of physical injury and death.
“Residents who plan to stay and defend their property should finalise their preparations around the home.”
Preparations should include: • Making sure your yard is cleared of fine fuels - Fine fuels are things such as long dry grass, fallen leaves and twigs. Anything smaller in diameter than your little finger is a fine fuel and it is these that you need to clean up around your property. • Moving wood piles away from your home. • Cleaning leaves out of gutters. • Closing underfloor spaces and seal all gaps where embers could enter. • Checking your back up water supply as power may go off - so don't rely on electrical pumps for supply of water. • Gathering appropriate firefighting equipment such as ladders, hoses, buckets, mops, portable water pumps, a ladder, rake, a torch, and a knapsack spray to put out small "spot" fires. • Making sure you have protective clothing available including long sleeved cotton shirts and trousers. • Those who decide to stay are reminded that in the event of a fire, firefighters may not be able to actively defend every house and residents should not expect a fire crew at their door.
Mr Adcock added a reminder to motorists not to flick cigarette butts out of car windows.
“It puts crews in danger and ties up vital resources when responding to a fire that has started in a median strip because motorists have carelessly flicked a cigarette but outside their car window,” he said.”
If a serious fire does occur, regular updated information will be provided on the QFRS Rural Operations website at www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au or at www.fire.qld.gov.au and residents are advised to listen to their local radio station.
Media contact: Mr Roberts - ( 07 ) 3239 0199, Department of Community Safety media - ( 07 ) 3247 8186
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