Officials warn against bush fire complacency, with conditions set to deteriorate again

Hinterland residents are being warned not to become complacent when it comes to bush fires, with more ‘perfect fire conditions’ on the way.

While the fire burning in Lower Beechmont is still currently at ‘advice’ level, some residents were forced to evacuate over the weekend.

Water bombing aircraft and heavy machinery were brought in again yesterday to try and contain the blaze, though there are fears it will spark up again mid week.


Mayor Tom Tate has been in meetings with the disaster management unit throughout the weekend, and has a warning to locals who may think the danger is over for now.

“Avoid taking risks, don’t do any mowing or power tools, those sparks can set off a bush fire.

“I have to say QFES, the fire fighters, both professional and rural, are working very well to avert any damage to people and property.

“Right now, it’s looking like Wednesday is when conditions are going to be at their worst.

“We have sent dozers up there to cut tracks and fire breaks in strategic areas, together with the defence, to make sure the fire will be contained on Wednesday.

“Make sure you got plenty of water, listen to the radio, and really those important documentation start putting them in a safe, or areas that don’t burn.

“Many people have a computer, start uploading those documentations into the cloud so you’ve got a keepsake there, your photos and the like.

“So preparedness is key and we’re bracing ourselves, because there’s no sign of rain for three days.

Matthew Mulroney from QFES told 1029 Hot Tomato’s Flan, Emily Jade and Christo that the weekend has been a particular battle, though crews are hoping the Lower Beechmont blaze may ‘behave itself’ now.

“Our crews – to be totally honest – our crews are tired, but they’re still getting in and doing the job.

“We’re just asking people to prepare themselves, be aware of what’s going on, and have a bush fire survival plan in place, so that they know what they’re going to do and where they’re going to go, if they’re impacted by fire,” Mr Mulroney said.

“Lower Beechmont really gave us some trouble the other night – we lost some sheds and things like that – luckily no houses were lost.

“But that one is still burning up in the back country, up in the hills, it’s really difficult to get to.

“We had water bombing aircraft in their yesterday doing a fantastic job to support our crews.

“Hopefully that one’s going to behave itself now, though as the Mayor said the conditions are going to get worse,” Mr Mulroney said.

According to the Bureau’s forecast, temperatures will soar back into the 30s mid week, and again this coming weekend.

Coupled with low humidity and strong winds, it could escalate fire conditions in the hinterland.

Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen provided an update of the situation further west late yesterday, saying there are still difficult conditions on the way and that people really need to stay alert.

“The week ahead still looks quite severe.

“Particularly bad conditions on Tuesday and Wednesday and now we’re being told possibly into next weekend as well,” Mr Christensen said.

“At the moment, it is the time for everyone to be very alert, to follow the instructions of the QFES checklist, to know your fire preparedness plan and to know your ability to defend your property or the need for you to plan to leave.

“Again I urge people – the learning that I repeatedly refer to in life – one of the failings of human nature is that we have a tendency to overestimate our capabilities and underestimate risk.

“So when you’re doing your fire readiness plan, please consider that,” Mr Christensen said in his video.

Gold Coast Health has also issued a warning, particularly for residents with breathing difficulties.

“Fine smoke particles can cause health problems like; itchy or burning eyes, throat irritation, a runny nose and illnesses like bronchitis,” the warning reads.

“They can also aggravate existing lung conditions, like chronic bronchitis, emphysema and asthma. Symptoms can occur for several days after smoke is inhaled.

Residents should:
– Close windows and doors
– Use fans or air conditioning on recirculating mode to keep cool
– Keep medications close by if suffering a respiratory condition
– Be vigilant in taking prescribed medications for existing lung conditions.

“Residents should call Triple Zero (000) if you are having health problems or believe your property is under threat,” the Facebook post reads.