Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) is urging Queenslanders to remain alert with elevated fire conditions predicted from tomorrow.

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a dry airmass to impact much of Queensland, with widespread Very High to Severe fire danger ratings expected.

QFES Commissioner Greg Leach said with strong winds expected any fires that start could take hold quickly and residents needed to be aware of their surroundings and adjust their activities to the conditions. 

“The forecast conditions, which include the possibility of dry lightning strikes for parts of south-east Queensland today, well and truly signal the start of bushfire season for most of Queensland,” Mr Leach said.

“The first reminder is: if you see smoke or fire, call Triple Zero (000) immediately. The quicker we can get our crews to fires, the better the outcome.

“Stay focused and answer the questions the Fire Communications Officer will ask you and pay attention to your location and nearby landmarks so we can accurately dispatch resources.

“Activities such as grinding and welding in open air could be dangerous. We strongly recommend minimising this activity and conducting it in an area that has been cleared of vegetation. It’s essential if you are to use these tools, have water and a fire extinguisher on hand just in case any sparks trigger a fire.”

Mr Leach said a Local Fire Ban had been imposed across QFES’ South Eastern Region, in response to localised conditions. 

“Under a local fire ban, all open fires are prohibited (subject to exemptions) and all Permits to Light Fire which have been issued in the designated areas have been cancelled,” he said.

“Permit holders who have had their permits cancelled will need to reapply once the ban has been lifted.

“This means that from 12.01am this morning (Monday) until 11.59pm Tuesday 21 September 2021, residents in the Logan, Scenic Rim, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Somerset and Gold Coast Regional Council areas will be under this fire ban.” 

Permit holders outside of these areas are also reminded of the need to comply with the conditions of the permit and to avoid lighting a fire if there is a chance that the weather may take the fire beyond the control of the landholder.

“For example, if the permit identifies that the fire cannot be lit if the forecasted wind exceeds 15 kilometres per hour and if the wind is from the west, then these conditions must apply throughout the duration of the fire,” Mr Leach said.

“Supervise the fire closely and ensure the perimeter of the burn is patrolled and made safe until there is no longer any risk of the fire escaping.”

QFES State Coordinator Superintendent James Haig urged families making the most of the school holidays in South West Queensland to be especially vigilant when camping. 

“Campfires are currently allowed in some areas outside the fire ban, but need to be managed safely and responsibly,” Mr Haig said.

“Some of our biggest bushfires can start from well-meaning campfires that have not been properly extinguished. Never leave a fire unattended and ensure it has been put out with water.”

Mr Haig said predicted strong winds and high fuel loads in the western parts of Central Queensland may present a risk of grassfires.  

“We’ll also see heightened conditions in parts of the far north around the Peninsula and Gulf Country areas.

“However, in the North Tropical Coast and Tablelands districts the conditions will not be as elevated, so residents can expect to see mitigation activities continuing there.

“The beginning of the bushfire season is also a good opportunity to review your Bushfire Survival Plan or prepare one if you don’t already have one.”

Information about the Permit to Light Fire system can be obtained from local fire wardens, fire brigades and Rural Fire Service area offices and by visiting www.qfes.qld.gov.au.

For help creating a Bushfire Survival Plan, visit www.qfes.qld.gov.au/bushfires