Firies on edge for severe bushfire danger
WARWICK emergency services are preparing for "out of control” bushfires as a forecast heat wave clocks fire danger levels up to 'severe'.
Warwick Rural Fire group officer Michael Welsh said erratic conditions, low humidity and the sweltering heat had firefighters across the region on edge.
"We're expecting heightened fire incidences,” Mr Welsh said.
"And things will kick off with lightning strikes.”
Mr Welsh said there had already been a few lightning-sparked fires around Ballandean.
However, it's the next few days that will prove most dangerous.
"It's mainly the western area (of the Southern Downs) that will experience the severe status,” he said.
"The erattic condition of the heat and wind really makes them very hard to control.”
The conditions are set to be the worst of the season according to Rural Fire Service Assistant Commissioner Tom Dawson.
"We've seen consistent bushfire activity since August but the forecast heatwave and dry conditions will be the worst we've experienced this season,” Mr Dawson said.
"Firefighters on the ground have been briefed, know what to expect and are well prepared to respond if a bushfire threatens.”
Mr Welsh said the heightened fire risk in Warwick meant any 000 call would be attended by two response teams.
"We're trying to get on top of the fires as fast as we can,” he said.
"It's helpful if people know where the smoke is rising from.
"Trucks can drive around around and around because someone sees smoke.
"It could be coming from as far as Brisbane there is an easterly wind.”
He said residents bordering on bushland should brave the heat and jump on the mower before it's too late.
"Keep all vegetation down, and make sure the yard tidy,” he said.
"And clean gutters. It takes one ember for it to catch alight.”
Mr Welsh also said engine access was one thing even the most prepared residents could often forget.
"Allow 3.3 meters to allow trucks to come,” he said.
"Move overhanging branches or fallen trees so engines can get in.”
Mr Dawson said a bushfire in these conditions would quickly become intense and uncontrollable.
Residents were urged to report all bushfire activity immediately by pinpointing the location of the fire and calling 000.