FIRE BAN: A ban has been put in place for the Southern Downs Regional Council area.
FIRE BAN: A ban has been put in place for the Southern Downs Regional Council area. Adam Hourigan

Fire ban issued for Southern Downs amid severe fire danger

THE Queensland Rural Fire Service has issued a fire ban for the Southern Downs Regional Council area from today until midnight on Friday.

The ban prohibits residents from lighting, maintaining and using fires in the open.

It comes as the Bureau of Meteorology warns of severe fire danger for the Darling Downs and Granite Belt areas today.

The danger is predicted to remain very high in the region tomorrow, Friday and Saturday.

Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Harry Clark said warm conditions and strong, dry winds were contributing to the fire danger.

"The wind is expected to be 35-50km/h from the west and gusts on top of that of 70-80km/h," he said.

"That's the main concern in terms of fire danger."

Mr Clark said the higher peaks across the region would see the worst of the wind.

"We will see the wind ease off into tomorrow, while we have the severe fire weather warning today, tomorrow drops back to very high and while it (the danger) does ease slightly it's by no means over," he said.

Mr Clark said there was also dust coming in from the west, so warned people with asthma to be aware of the dust and keep their puffer handy.

In the wake of the fire ban, permits to light a fire that have been previously issued in the fire ban area have been cancelled.

Power tools including lawn mowers and mechanical slashers may be used, however, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services encourages people to use the tools with extreme care.

Ensure adequate equipment is available to extinguish any fire that may start, this could include having a person available to watch out for any ignitions that occur.

But there are a few exemptions for lighting fires, they include:

- Fires within a properly constructed barbecue are permitted provided they are not left unattended.

- Fires for the purpose of disposal of animal carcasses are permitted, subject to the issue of a permit by the local fire warden.

- Fires of commercial necessity are permitted subject to the issue of a permit to light the fire by the chief fire warden.

- Fires lit for the purpose of gas flaring in line with petroleum and CSG gas industry standards are permitted when conducted from properly constructed and tested flaring equipment and enclosures.

The government areas of Goondiwindi Regional Council, Toowoomba Regional Council, Western Downs Regional Council and Maranoa Regional Council are all affected by the ban.

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