Total fire ban due to heightened bushfire danger
A TOTAL fire ban will apply to parts of the region today as a dangerous cocktail of record-dry conditions and intense winds heighten the risk of bushfires.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services director of Rural Operations Superintendent James Haig said the blanket ban will remain in place today to midnight.
It will cover nine regional council areas including the Lockyer Valley Regional Council, and residents in those areas will be prohibited from lighting a fire in the open unless it is within a constructed barbecue.
"Large pockets of south-east Queensland are experiencing some of the driest conditions in more than 20 years," Mr Haig said.
"Throw in the prospect of extremely intense wind gusts of up to 75kmh (Thursday) and we are looking at a significant bushfire risk over the next 24 hours.
"A fire that starts under these conditions has the potential to rapidly spread, threaten lives and properties and be difficult to contain.
"This is a major step but we are facing a serious situation at the moment."
The ban also applies to Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Redland, Ipswich, Somerset, Gold Coast, Logan and Scenic Rim council areas.
"Let me be clear: residents need to be alert, prepared and stay informed in case a bushfire starts in their area," Mr Haig said.
"People must not light a fire on their property, even small fires under two metres in any direction.
"Anyone caught lighting a fire during the ban not only risks their own safety but the safety of their community."
Mr Haig said the local fire ban for south-east Queensland was a good reminder for residents to prepare a bushfire survival plan.
"No part of Queensland is immune from bushfire this season," he said.
"There have been more than 1,700 bushfires since the start of August, from Cape York to the Gold Coast and out west as well.
"All residents should take the time now to prepare their bushfire survival plan."
Mr Haig said residents outside the local fire ban area should also take extra precautions if they intended to light a fire on their property.
"Those planning on conducting a property burn should contact their local fire warden first to determine if it is safe to light a fire," he said.
"Permit holders need to make sure they comply with the permit conditions and ensure their permit is still valid, given restrictions have been imposed in many areas in light of the growing bushfire risk."
Visit Rural Fire for more information on how to prepare a bushfire survival plan and to locate your local fire warden.