A LOCAL fire ban will be in place right across southeast Queensland on Thursday as the bushfire risk soars thanks to a dangerous cocktail of record-dry conditions and intense winds.
The 24-hour local ban will take effect from midnight tonight and last through until 11.59pm tomorrow (Thursday).
Locations covered by the ban include Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Redland City, Ipswich, Somerset, Logan, the Lockyer Valley, the Gold Coast, and the Scenic Rim.
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Residents in the ban zone will be prohibited from lighting a fire in the open, unless in a secure barbecue.
QFES Director of Rural Operations Superintendent James Haig says large pockets of the southeast are experiencing some of the driest conditions in more than 20 years.
“Throw in the prospect of extremely intense wind gusts of up to 75km/h tomorrow and we are looking at a significant bushfire risk over the next 24 hours,” Superintendent Haig said.
“This [blanket ban] is a major step but we are facing a serious situation at the moment.
“The ground is dry, our forests are stressed and fuel loads are up due to Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie.”
The dangerous weather conditions have propelled the fire danger to very high and severe in many areas.
Superintendent Haig said a fire that started under the conditions forecast for Thursday will have the potential to spread rapidly, threaten lives and properties and will be difficult to contain.
“Let me be clear: residents need to be alert, prepared and stay informed in case a bushfire starts in their area.”
“People must not light a fire on their property, even small fires under two metres in any direction.
“Anyone caught lighting a fire during the ban not only risks their own safety but the safety of their community.”
There have already been more than 1700 bushfires across Queensland since the start of August, from Cape York in the north to the Gold Coast in the south.
Mr Haig said the ban was a good reminder for residents to prepare a bushfire survival plan.
“No part of Queensland is immune from bushfire this season,” he said. “All residents should take the time now to prepare their bushfire survival plan.”
“Those planning on conducting a property burn should contact their local fire warden first to determine if it is safe to light a fire.
“Permit holders need to make sure they comply with the permit conditions and ensure their permit is still valid, given restrictions have been imposed in many areas in light of the growing bushfire risk.”
For more information on how to prepare a bushfire survival plan and to locate your local fire warden, click here.