PREPARE FOR THE WORST: Emergency services captured this aerial view of a fire burning near Wallangarra during an earlier bushfire season.
PREPARE FOR THE WORST: Emergency services captured this aerial view of a fire burning near Wallangarra during an earlier bushfire season. QFES

Severe fire and health warnings as heat rises across region

TEMPERATURES are set to soar above 30 degrees on the Southern Downs this week prompting severe fire and health warnings for residents.

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast severe fire danger today and urged residents to action their bushfire survival plan now.

This involves clearing debris from roofs and gutters, enclosing open areas under decks and floors, pointing LPG cylinder relief valves away from the house and ensuring there is adequate access to your property for fire trucks.

Property owners are also encouraged to remove ground fuel such as dead leaves and branches, trim low-lying branches within two metres of their home and ensure they have appropriate insurance cover.

According to BOM meteorologist Kimba Wong, temperatures in Warwick will gradually warm over the week from 30C on Wednesday to a high of 32C on Friday.

"It will be quite gusty and windy, which enhances the fire danger through this week,” she said.

"Today the danger is severe with a burst of southwest winds coming through.”

Winds are predicted to reach gusts of up to 25km/hr today, then lighten overnight before picking up again Thursday morning.

The strongest winds are expected on Friday when residents could see northwesterly winds between 25-40km/hr.

It has been two years since Warwick experienced such high temperatures in September and residents haven't felt such high heat since March 25 this year.

Advanced care paramedic Ian Pyper said it was important to keep safe during the warmer temperatures, as the fresh heat exposed residents to heat-related health conditions.

"It's important to remember to keep hydrated during this time,” he said.

"Drink plenty of water and go easy on drinks containing alcohol or caffeine.

"If you can, try to slow down and avoid strenuous activity, especially between the hours of 10am and 3pm.”

A large percentage of Warwick's population is elderly and therefore especially vulnerable to heat stress.

"If you have elderly neighbours it's important to check on them,” Mr Pyper said.

"If you are concerned that someone is suffering from a heat-related condition try to cool them down, loosen any clothing, give them water and if you're particularly concerned, dial 000.”

During the warm spell residents are encouraged to wear wide-brimmed hats, loose cotton clothes and keep an eye out for symptoms of heat stroke, which include dizziness, disorientation or confusion.

To monitor the fire and weather situation and receive more information on preparing for bushfires, visit the Rural Fire or Bureau of Meteorology websites.



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