STATE OF FIRE EMERGENCY: Statewide ban enforced
SOUTHERN Downs has been declared a state of fire emergency, along with 41 other local government areas in Queensland.
Effective of 5pm, the State of Fire Emergency will prohibits the lighting of all types of outdoor fires, and bans certain activities that can cause fires to ignite.
The ban comes after Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Acting Commissioner Mike Wassing said all possible steps had to be taken to prevent further fires igniting.
"We're experiencing tinder box-like conditions across much of the state and all it takes is one spark to start a fire that may burn for days,” Mr Wassing said.
"This declaration is vital to prevent bushfires breaking out and posing a danger to lives and property.”
Mr Wassing said the declaration overrode all existing permits to light fire, banned fireworks and the lighting of any outdoor cooking fires.
"The declaration also prohibits welding, grinding and the use of oxy acetylene cutting or heating outdoors,” he said.
"The use of the machinery and power tools in open areas has the potential to exacerbate the bushfire risk, which is why it is essential people do not use these tools outdoors.
"The declaration also gives QFES the authority to draw on private resources, such as plant and equipment, to assist in firefighting or preparation.”
Penalties for disobeying the declaration included a fine of up to $3,336 or two years imprisonment.
Mr Wassing urged Queenslanders to remain vigilant and continue to follow the advice of authorities.
"Everyone should have a bushfire survival plan and know what they are going to do if a fire approaches,” he said.
"People need to keep up-to-date on the QFES website and social media channels, and tune into local radio.
"It is important they follow the advice given and don't leave it too late to evacuate if they need to.
"Bushfire prevention is a community effort, so it is essential people report fires and to Triple Zero (000) immediately.”
The declaration will be in effect until revoked and comes after residents in Sunshine Coast suburbs of Cooroibah, Ringtail Creek and Noosa North Shore were told to leave immediately as a dangerous bushfire approaches.