Bushfire threat continues months longer than expected
UNSEASONALLY hot and dry weather has firefighters on alert as dangerous bushfire conditions extend nearly two months longer than usual.
North Coast Rural Fire Service regional manager Peter Hollier said multi-agency efforts to combat bushfires on the Sunshine Coast and in the Wide Bay Burnett would likely continue beyond the end of the month.
"Operation Unified is winding down in many areas throughout Queensland, but Wide Bay Burnett and Sunshine Coast are still experiencing bushfire activity across the region," Mr Hollier said.
"Firefighters in the region have attended upwards of 1,700 vegetation fires this season, and that number is likely to climb if current weather conditions persist.
"Bushfire activity traditionally runs from August through to November, but dry weather coupled with little rainfall will extend the season well into late January and possibly beyond."
Mr Hollier said many parts of the region, particularly Wide Bay Burnett, had not received sufficient rainfall in recent months.
"This means there is little to no moisture in the ground, leaving areas ripe for a serious bushfire under the right conditions," he said.
As the second heatwave in two weeks grips the region the potential for bushfires starting and spreading was exacerbated.
"The fire danger rating remains high in the coming days, and something as simple as a spark from a power tool or even a cigarette butt could be enough to start a fire," Mr Hollier said.
"Residents should monitor conditions and take precautions, particularly if they are conducting burns on their property.
"Firefighters have attended a number of unpermitted burns this bushfire season, so landholders need to make sure they obtain a permit and comply with conditions before lighting a fire.
"Doing so will prevent unnecessary emergency calls and allow the RFS and partner agencies to direct resources where they are needed most."