Summer is gone, but dry land keeps bushfire threat alive
HOT weather is dissipating around the Southern Downs but the risk of bushfires has not disappeared like a cloud of smoke.
Extremely dry conditions around Warwick and Stanthorpe are increasing the risk of winter bushfires, with crews already battling significant blazes at Cottonvale, Dalveen and Ellangowan.
Warwick Fire Station officer-in-charge Darren Welsh said the region was the driest he'd seen it since moving here five years ago.
In previous years, winter grassfires had ripped through land around Rosenthal Heights, Mt Tabor and the urban fringe of Warwick, he said.
"People mow the lawn with slashers and the blades hit rocks and the sparks go into dry grass,” Mr Welsh said.
"We've had people using grinders around properties or welding near a fence post.
"Any time that you're using equipment that could produce a spark, be wary of it.”
Mr Welsh said it was vital to keep grass low and not light fires unless absolutely necessary.
If the fire is larger than 2sqm, a fire permit must be obtained from a fire warden or the fire station.
"There's still a lot of properties out there that have long grass and people keep a lot of flammable storage close to their house,” he said.
Rural Fire Service acting regional manager Tim Chittenden said with little rainfall and cooler temperatures, crews had already seen significant bushfires in the region.
"QFES is undertaking a number of bushfire mitigation initiatives and we are working with partner agencies to determine priority areas,” he said.
"Now is the time for residents to prepare their properties as bushfire mitigation is a community effort - if you own the fuel, you own the fire.
"Residents can put in firebreaks, create a fire management plan and move flammable items away from their home such as boxes, crates and woodpiles.”
Mr Welsh said residents could request a safe home visit to receive fire safety advice.
To organise a visit, phone 137468.