Fraser Coast firefighters on edge after long dry
THE driest conditions in recent memory has Hervey Bay's firefighters on edge.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Service and Queensland Rural Fire Service personnel attended several fires in Hervey Bay on Saturday.
It spurred a warning from Torquay station officer John Pappas, who spoke to the Chronicle after he and his crew returned from their third fire in quick succession.
"It's the driest a lot of people can remember seeing Hervey Bay," Mr Pappas said.
Hervey Bay is in the midst of one of its driest starts to the year on record, having only recorded 26.8mm in the year to date.
It is substantially less than the two-month average of 297mm, and while that average accounts for the rest of February, there is no respite on the horizon.
Figures for this month alone are startling. Despite an average 149mm, Hervey Bay recorded just 0.4mm in the first 19 days of February.
"We really need to get through to people that they should be prepared," he said.
Part of that preparation includes appropriate fire management.
He said that nobody should be burning off, but if residents wanted to clear their land using that practice they had to get a permit.
Mr Pappas used last week's fire in Urangan as an example of why it was important to be fully aware of conditions.
"It gets away in seconds, and people have to be aware of the weather and winds behind it," Mr Pappas.
"When we went back there at midnight it was raining embers. The wind created havoc for us.
"The trailer fire was spontaneous, but those others just don't occur."
A small fire claimed a few square metres of an Endeavour Way, Eli Waters, median strip while a trailer spontaneously combusted on River Heads Rd at Booral.
The third, and most troubling for firefighters, was at Point Vernon.
A vegetation fire burned about 100 square metres of scrub on Spinnaker Drive, at which firefighters spent an hour to control.
Mr Pappas said that fire would be treated as suspicious.