A break for firefighters

AS 500 exhausted firefighters got a moment of rest from fighting blazes in the Bundaberg district, the region's officers begged people to be prepared for the fire season or pay the price.

Rural firefighters area director Tony Johnstone said weather conditions had become more favourable and the 100 firefighters monitoring the blaze at Gaeta had been given some respite.

Officers have continued to pour into the area from New South Wales to replace 30 firefighters who headed back to their homes south of the border yesterday afternoon.

Wide Bay rural fire brigades also continued to monitor the scene.

“And it's not just firies. Landholders have done a fantastic job monitoring the blaze,” Mr Johnstone said.

“They're an integral part of fire management as well.”

He said property owners and firefighters were yesterday strengthening a containment line at the bottom of the Gaeta valley.

The blaze has burnt about 35,000ha of land since it started about two weeks ago.

Mr Johnstone also said a fire at Watalgan was being monitored by two fire-brigade trucks and forestry workers, while the Mt Perry blaze was held within containment lines.

In Bundaberg, Queensland Fire and Rescue officers continued to conduct patrols at the site of Sunday's east Bundaberg blaze.

“We're monitoring the fire throughout the day,” station officer Trevor Duncan said.

Yesterday, fire bans in Bundaberg and North Burnett regions were extended until November 2.

Mr Johnstone said his volunteers were gearing up for a longer season than usual, but it was almost impossible to predict any long-term outcomes.

“Queensland goes from one extreme to the other,” he said.

“I remember in 1984 we went from floods to fires.”

But he pleaded with people to be prepared for any outbreaks by identifying water sources, communicating with neighbours and contacting the fire service as soon as they saw smoke.

Mr Duncan said people with homes near bush should have garden hoses on hand, make sure gutters were free of leaves, and get rid of combustible outdoor furniture.

“Even if rain might be imminent and the temperature has cooled off, we urge people not to burn off,” he said.

Read more about fires in Bundaberg: Heat is on for firies across city.

Keep up-to-date with the weather forecast for Bundaberg.

Do you know what to do in the advent of a fire? Read Qld bushfire safety tips for tips and links to further information.

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