WARNING: Fire ban for Southern Downs
SOUTHERN Downs residents will be subject to a local fire ban from midnight tonight as an extremely dry and windy forecast sends the region’s fire risk skyrocketing.
The fire ban will apply to all 10 local government areas within the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services’ Southwest region, including Southern Downs, Goondiwindi, and Toowoomba.
Effective from midnight tonight, the ban will apply to any fires, including residents with an approved permit, until 11.59pm Monday.
QFRS regional manager for rural operations Wayne Waltisbuhl urged residents to take caution, with extremely strong winds and dry atmosphere forecast for the next several days.
“If we get an ignition source with this kind of weather, the fires will develop rapidly, moving very quickly, and putting a lot of assets at risk,” Mr Waltisbuhl said.
“We’re making the decision for everyone that we don’t want any fires lit, because if they are lit, they’ll escape and cause some damage.
“It’s about vigilance from individuals and the local community, and penalties do apply for those who don’t abide by this declaration.”
With something as routine as a power tool or lawnmower able to spark up in dry grass, Mr Waltisbuhl said all fire crews within the region would also be taking precautions during this dangerous period.
“We’ll have more trucks responding, and we’ve increased our aircraft numbers by eight, as well as the four that have been on standby in Toowoomba since the start of the fire season,” he said.
“Now we have the fire ban in place, any sighting of fire or smoke needs to be reported to triple-0 immediately, because the sooner we can get that intel and help the better.
Residents should consult QFES’ social media outlets for additional information.