Catastrophic bushfire conditions

Catastrophic bushfire conditions

Forecast for parts of southern Queensland on Friday 6 September

Posted on 05.09.2019

Weather conditions are pointing to a catastrophic fire danger rating for parts of the Darling Downs and Maranoa tomorrow, the Queensland Rural Fire Service says, while residents in the Gold Coast hinterland are being told to prepare to leave.

Key points

  • The Rural Fire Service warns catastrophic conditions are being forecast tomorrow for the state’s south
  • The Darling Downs and Maranoa are being urged to prepare now
  • There are currently bushfires at advice level in the south-east, including at Sarabah

It would only be the second time a catastrophic fire warning has been issued — the first was in November last year when fierce bushfires ravaged central Queensland.

Acting regional manager Clinton Newman has urged people to prepare now and heed any warnings from emergency services.

“We’re looking at fires that will be fast moving and difficult to control, so people who do not have well-prepared properties or who haven’t got a plan, we’re in the phase where it might be too late so their plan might be to leave early,” he said.

“We’ll see fire bans from midnight Thursday night or Friday morning, through to midnight Friday night or Saturday morning … so pretty much all of Friday.

“So … make preparations today.”

The areas facing a significant fire threat include Toowoomba, Southern Downs, Western Downs, Goondiwindi, Maranoa and the Balonne Shire council areas.

Meanwhile, residents at Sarabah, south of Canungra, in the Gold Coast hinterland are now being told to prepare to leave their homes, as conditions could get worse.


What is a catastrophic fire?

  • A catastrophic fire danger rating is as bad as it gets
  • While some homes may survive a severe or extreme fire if you’re well prepared, the Country Fire Authority says no homes are designed to withstand catastrophic conditions
  • If a fire starts and takes hold during catastrophic fire conditions, the weather bureau says it will be “extremely difficult to control” and take “significant firefighting resources”
  • This is the second time a catastrophic fire warning has been issued in Queensland
  • When these warnings are issued, your only safe option is to leave the area early
  • The catastrophic category was added following the 2009 Black Saturday fires in Victoria

Other areas facing severe threat

Tomorrow’s fire danger rating for the Granite Belt and Warrego is also forecast to be extreme, while the rating for the Central Highlands and Coalfields, Wide Bay and Burnett and south-east coast is expected to be severe.

There are currently three bushfires at advice level in the south-east, including at Kurwongbah in the Moreton Bay shire, Upper Flagstone in the Lockyer Valley and Frazerview in the Scenic Rim, but they are all contained.

A very high fire danger remains in place for eastern districts.

There’s a total fire ban for most of southern Queensland including Logan, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Somerset, Lockyer Valley and Scenic Rim.

Under a local fire ban, open fires are prohibited and all permits to light fire that have been issued in areas will been cancelled.

Forecaster Michael Knepp said strong and gusty winds would contribute to the extreme conditions forecast for Friday.

… very windy, very warm, very dry …

“Those three things combined are going to lead to severe to extreme fire dangers for tomorrow.”

ABC News

For more bushfire ready resources, go to Are You Bushfire Prepared?





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