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Firefighters in thick of the action

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Firefighters in thick of the action

The Rural Fire Service chief has praised the efforts of officers who kept recent Coast bushfires away from properties. WORDS: Steele Taylor.

Firefighters have been lauded for their efforts in suppressing a blaze that ripped through about 200 hectares of mostly national park recently.

They were forced into action on the afternoon of Sunday, September 17, when the fire, which is being treated as suspicious, burst into life.

Emergency warnings were issued and residents were urged to leave immediately.

There were various warnings during the next few days, particularly for properties between Steve Irwin Way, Irwin Road, Mawsons Road and the Bruce Highway, including Holt Road.

The fire, mainly within the Glass House National Park, intensified on the Monday, when a slew of resources was put into action to counter it.

“(The fire) did get close to a couple of properties,” Rural Fire Service director Chief Superintendent Matt Inwood says.

“But crews were able to pull the fire up before it got in contact with the properties.”

He has praised the efforts of firefighters involved.

“It was a great effort by all of the firefighting personnel,” he says.

“Because of the nature of the country and the dry conditions, (the fire) was fairly active on Sunday afternoon when it first started and then again on Monday afternoon, when the heat and wind were behind it.

“But we had a significant number of crews and aircraft on the fire, and they were able to bring it under control.

“They were able to get some control lines around it and they’ve done a fantastic job.

“They got in there and did some hard work firefighting to make sure they could get that fire to where it is now.”

During the peak of the blaze, there were more than 60 firefighting vehicles and six water bombing aircraft in action, including helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft on float that sourced water from dams.

Crews from the Rural Fire Service, Queensland Parks and Wildlife, and HQ Plantations were also on the scene.

The fire is under investigation by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and the Queensland Police Service.

“Police continue to investigate a suspicious vegetation fire in Beerwah on September 18, including whether human activity contributed to the cause of the blaze,” police say.

“Hooning is one of the lines of inquiry being investigated.

“However, there are many variables and possibilities being looked at.”

DID YOU KNOW?

Sunshine Coast residents and visitors can stay up to date with important information by downloading the council’s Disaster Hub app or by visiting disaster.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au. The Disaster Hub displays weather warnings, road closures and evacuation centres.

 

DOUBLE TROUBLE POSSIBLE AS HOT, DRY SUMMER RAMPS UP

Australia is officially in the grip of a double weather whammy that could mean a dangerously hot and dry summer for much of the country.

The Bureau of Meteorology has formally declared an El Nino event in the Pacific Ocean, to Australia’s east, and a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) to the west.

El Nino typically delivers above-average heat and drier conditions, particularly in eastern Australia.

And a positive IOD tends to drive lower-than-average rainfall for large swathes of the country.

“When these two things occur together, that tends to increase the severity of rainfall deficiencies, in particular for the southeast of the continent, over spring,” bureau manager of climate services Karl Braganza says.

He warns hot, dry conditions are expected to persist until the end of summer.

“In all likelihood, we can expect that this summer will be hotter than average and certainly hotter than the last three years,” he says.

“Those conditions are accompanied by an increase in fire danger and extreme heat risk.

“It’s really up to individuals and communities now to prepare for a summer of heat and fire hazards.”

Dr Braganza says that while conditions are not as bad as they were when leading into thecatastrophic fires of Black Summer, the landscape is rapidly drying out.

“Leading into Black Summer in 2019 … we had years of preceding drought,” he says.

“We do have a wetter landscape out there, (but) it is drying out more rapidly than has occurred in recent years.

“We are already seeing extreme conditions in some parts of the continent.”

– WORDS: AAP.

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