Firies get no rest as bushfires blaze across region
ESCAPING the weekend heat was not an option for our region's dedicated firefighters, as bushfires blazed in all directions.
Rural Fire Service acting regional manager for the south-east region Tony Johnstone said it was "hot, dirty and stressful work" for the hard-working volunteer crews.
Mr Johnstone spent his weekend monitoring the bushfires and overseeing resource distribution from the regional co-ordination centre in Toowoomba.
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"For the Ballandean fire there were up to about 70 personnel on the fire line each day and that includes personnel from New South Wales. We also had a couple of aircraft to make sure the fire stayed within containment lines," he said.
"The last report on the Ballandean bushfire was it covered about 5740 hectares and is currently contained. It's threatening nothing and there's a bit of smoke around.
"Local crews are keeping an eye on it. In the next few days we will slowly demobilise and make sure the local resources are happy if something happens."
Fire crews also managed to contain fires at Hookswood and Ravensbourne, with multiple Queensland Fire and Emergency Service crews remaining on scene.
Residents and motorists were advised to be cautious in the smoky conditions.
Mr Johnstone said crews managed a quick response with a bit of luck when another bushfire broke out in Massie, north-west of Warwick yesterday about noon.
"It just happened we had aircraft nearby and I authorised it to be used to attack the fire until local crews made it," he said.
"That's not a normal tactic but because of the extreme dry conditions I authorised it to take the heat out.
"There was a very quick response by local crews. It's very, very dry."
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QFES issued a bushfire advice alert for residents yesterday afternoon for the Massie fire, which broke out around noon.
Fire crews were gathering intelligence on the ground and using water bombing aircrafts to fight the flames.
The firefighter said there had been up to 150 firefighters during the last three or four days working around the clock to contain the blazes.
"They're the ones who really need the praise and the landholders are really assisting with local knowledge.
"The only way we can fight fires is jointly."
Despite the predicted drop in temperatures, he said the fire threat was not expected to decrease.
"The next couple of weeks are going to be really dry. We've had a warm winter and there's a lot of vegetation ready to burn now. It doesn't take much for it to alight.
"I'd encouraged everyone to acknowledge the volunteers. It's a team effort and we all need to work together and communicate."
He advised residents to be on a high alert and take care not to conduct any activities which could start a fire.
"I would ask the community to be aware to make sure we don't lose property unnecessarily. Grazing land is so important, especially in the dry conditions.
"We're keeping an eye on the whole region.
"If people see anything suspicious report it to the police. People who start fires could kill someone.
"It's going to be an interesting few weeks."
For updated information on the bushfires visit ruralfire.qld.gov.au.
- Wear protective clothing
- Drink lots of water
- Move car/s to a safe location
- Close windows and doors and shut blinds
- Bring pets inside and restrain them (leash, cage or secure room) and provide water
- Wet down fine fuels close to buildings
- Remove garden furniture, doormats and other items
- Seal all gaps under doors and screens
- Fill containers with water - eg bath, sinks, buckets, wheelie bins etc
- Have ladders ready for roof space access (inside) and against roof (outside)
- Have generator or petrol powered pump ready
Check and patrol outside for embers and extinguish any spot fires and seek shelter as the fire front arrives