Another scorcher, but no fire bans at this stage
SHOWERS and cooler days won't bring much relief to Gympie's big dry this week, but they have already eased the fire danger that has plagued rural firies and left an ongoing total fire ban in place at Inskip Point.
The region sweltered through another 37-plus scorcher on Saturday, but temperatures are expected to hover about the 32-degree mark or lower this week. This, combined with high humidity and less wind, will reduce the danger of fires.
Rural Fire Service spokesman Brian Dale yesterday said no fire bans were in place in the Gympie region or throughout Queensland "at this stage", except those in some national parks.
There has however been a high fire danger in place since last Thursday, and it was up to rural fire wardens to cancel, amend or refuse fire permits according to local conditions, Mr Dale said.
"Our advice to fire wardens has been to be very cautious if they are intending to issue any permits."
Mr Dale said most fire wardens would call the command centre at Maryborough for guidance before issuing permits in the current conditions.
Landholders contemplating burning off garden refuse or lighting any small fires should hold off until after it rains, he said.
While the region is not in an official "fire danger period", it does have a heightened fire danger, and everyone should be extra cautious of fire, ensure no fires are left unattended and that adequate precautions are in place before, during and after lighting a fire, if it is absolutely necessary to light one - some farmers may need to burn off as part of their production.
The absence of a fire ban in Queensland has been questioned in the face of recent weather conditions and the deadly fire emergencies in other parts of the country.
The Queensland Rural Fire Service website says a number of factors are taken into consideration by Queensland Fire and Rescue Service before imposing a fire ban.
Fire and weather conditions can vary significantly in different parts of the State, it says.
Mr Dale said the decision on whether or not to issue permits to burn was left with local warden because some parts of Queensland - and even parts of the Gympie region - had received rain while others missed out.
Fire wardens knew the local conditions better than anyone and were in the best position to make the call, he said.
"To address the diversity of our State, Queensland uses a different system to other states, where 2400 fire wardens (including 23 in the Gympie area) operate a Permit to Light Fire System in their local area to control the use of fire," the QRFS website says.
"These fire wardens are locals who know their area well, and know the conditions in that area. Throughout the year they can decide to revoke, suspend, or to not issue any new permits to light fire, dependant on the conditions in their local area. The suspension or cancellation of permits to light Fire has occurred in some areas this fire season."
It says the fires active in Queensland this fire season, such as the one that burned for more than a week at Tin Can Bay, were predominantly started by lightning strikes, by accident, or by arson. A fire ban does not prevent these kinds of fires.