Fire danger fizzles in wet weather

EARLY widespread rainfall across Queensland and predictions of higher than normal rainfall this summer have prompted the cancellation of the Fire Danger Period declaration from tonight at midnight.

The cancellation of the Fire Danger Period declaration means Queenslanders will now be able to light fires smaller than two metres in size without a fire permit, unless prohibited by local government regulations.

The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) declared the Fire Danger Period on September 4 and Assistant Commissioner for Rural Operations Neil Gallant said the main threat of the bushfire season had now passed.

"A state-wide Fire Danger Period was declared in order to protect the community following recent fire seasons which have seen thousands of bushfires devastate parts of the state," he said.

"Several restrictions around the use of fire were put in place to reduce the chances of small controlled fires getting out of control and turning into raging bushfires.

"The Fire Danger Period was intended to remain in place until January 1, 2012 or until the enhanced threat of bushfire had passed. The weather conditions we have recently experienced have led to QFRS Commissioner Lee Johnson cancelling the Fire Danger Period declaration."

Mr Gallant said the public had taken the restrictions for the use of fire on board and had been very cooperative in adhering to these since September 4.

"We did see a high level of acceptance of the restrictive measures that were in place under the Fire Danger Period, which included the requirement to have a permit for most outdoor fires," he said.

"Residents should be congratulated for doing their part to minimise uncontrolled fire activity.

"This was only the second year QFRS implemented a Fire Danger Period and use of these restrictions in future years will depend on the level of risk."

Mr Gallant said even though the Fire Danger Period declaration had been cancelled people still needed to be aware of permit requirements and remain prepared for the possibility of bushfire.

"Anyone wanting to light a fire larger than two metres in any direction still needs to obtain a permit from a local Fire Warden," he said.

"It's also important that people check their local government regulations in relation to starting small fires as well because many local governments have restrictions around allowing the lighting of small fires.

"Also, while much of the state is wet at the moment there are still some areas that could experience fire.

"Preparing for bushfire takes months if it is done properly and there are still steps we can all take to make sure we are ready for the weeks to come as well as next season.

"I urge anyone who hasn't already done so to visit the Rural Fire Service website and download a bushfire survival plan."

To find the contact details for your local fire warden, visit the rural operations website at www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au . More information on bushfire preparation can be found at: www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au .


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