A thick haze has hung over Warwick for the past three days.
A thick haze has hung over Warwick for the past three days. Emma Channon

Why there's smoke but no fire

IN THE language of our weather watchers, an "inversion" has been responsible for the haze of smoke over the Southern Downs.

The Bureau of Meteorology's Julian de Morton said a band of air had been acting as a lid over the lower part of the atmosphere, and was keeping the smoke hanging around.

He said that would begin to change this afternoon, when a trough begins to move through.

"A trough will come in from the west and there will be a bit of cloud coming in too.

"There will be a possibility of a thunderstorm but with little to no rain expected because it is so dry."

Warwick fire station officer in charge Hemmo de Vries said he was pleased with how seriously Southern Downers had taken the heightened fire risk.

"All-in-all, the community has been very good with the fires," he said.

"People have been sensible and have either got a permit and have got proper breaks and equipment, or they have seen the weather's not quite right and don't burn."

Mr de Vries said the band of smoke was not the result of localised fires.

Aside from one or two along the New England Highway north of Stanthorpe, the smoke had largely come from fires burning out west near Dalby.

QFRS regional manager for South-West Region, Superintendent Wayne Waltisbuhl said combined weather conditions of hot temperatures, dry conditions and strong winds produced perfect "fire weather".

"We've taken some steps to speak to fire wardens to cancel or suspend the lighting of fires for the next couple of days," he said.

"People are not advised to burn until the weather changes."

He said that could be toward the end of the week.

A spokeswoman for Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) said there had been "a few hundred" permits issued for property owners in the Southern Downs.

"For those wanting a permit, they need to contact the local fire warden on 4667 5167, who will either issue it or not," she said.

"Then regardless of that, they will need to ring the rural area office on 4616 1945 to apply for a permit."



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