GRIM OUTLOOK: Firies warn of nightmare season
WITH an average of eight bushfire call-outs a day in the past two weeks alone, fire crews are expecting a nightmare season.
Rural Fire Services Inspector Area Director for the Maryborough region Konrad Sawczynski said if the Fraser Coast did not receive decent rainfall in the next few weeks, with the right wind conditions there was potential for a similar bushfire situation.
Fire-fighters are looking ahead to a long 2017-18 bushfire season, which officially starts on September 1 and without significant rainfall could extend well into the new year.
Inspector Sawczynski said with drier conditions than last year, the long term predictions could mean a season as severe if not worse.
While rural and urban crews had been doing hazard mitigation burns during winter to reduce the risk in the hotter months, Insp Sawczynski said further burn-offs would not be possible without significant rainfall soon.
"We are desperate for decent rain to do more fire mitigation work to reduce the risk but it's not looking hopeful," Insp Sawczynski said.
"If conditions are right we could experience severe fire conditions similar to the Caloundra fires.
"We're expecting it (the season) to be severe."
A large grass fire broke out alongside the Bruce Hwy at Meridan Plains on Friday, and moved rapidly in an east/north-easterly direction threatening homes into the night and due to what Insp Sawczynski described as high winds, the fire wasn't contained until Sunday.
The current conditions have meant most fire wardens have stopped issuing permits for fires larger than two metres in any direction.
"We need people to be very aware that any fire they light they need to be there with some way of putting the fire out and if they do lose control of a fire, call 000 immediately," Insp Sawczynski said.
The 2016-17 season lasted 198 days with an average of 10 fires a day, with 10% percent of those lasting more than five days.
Acting Area Commander for the Maryborough region Andrew Madders said rural and urban crews had been working together to conduct hazard mitigation burns including land near Tinana State School and at Tin Can Bay.