Queensland Fire and Emergency Services says a ‘State of Fire Emergency’ has been declared across 42 Local Government Areas in Queensland – including Southern Downs Regional Council – “following a period of significantly heightened fire weather conditions expected to continue into next week”.
In a statement released late today, Saturday 9 November, QFES said the State of Fire Emergency – effective from 5pm today – prohibits the lighting of all types of outdoor fires, and bans certain activities that can cause fires to ignite.
QFES Acting Commissioner Mike Wassing said fire crews are battling multiple blazes across the State and all possible steps had to be taken to prevent further fires igniting.
“We’re experiencing tinder box-like conditions across much of the state and all it takes is one spark to start a fire that may burn for days,” Mr Wassing said.
“This declaration is vital to prevent bushfires breaking out and posing a danger to lives and property.”
Mr Wassing said the declaration overrode all existing permits to light fire, banned fireworks and the lighting of any outdoor cooking fires.
“The declaration also prohibits welding, grinding and the use of oxy acetylene cutting or heating outdoors,” he said.
“The use of the machinery and power tools in open areas has the potential to exacerbate the bushfire risk, which is why it is essential people do not use these tools outdoors.
“The declaration also gives QFES the authority to draw on private resources, such as plant and equipment, to assist in firefighting or preparation.”
Mr Wassing said substantial penalties could be issued to those who breached the declaration.
“The penalties for contravening this declaration are serious – a fine of up to $3336 or two years imprisonment,” he said.
“Our crews are doing a fantastic job protecting lives and property, and we ask that Queenslanders continue to do their part to prevent fires starting and spreading.
“The declaration will be in effect until revoked.”
Local Government Areas included in State of Fire Emergency –
QFES South Western Region Local Government Areas included:
• Southern Downs
• Western Downs