Firies injured, permits cancelled as bush fire season starts
FIRE season is six weeks early and emergency services are working in overdrive to keep homes and the community safe.
Bush fires broke out at Mutdapilly, Warrill View, Willowbank and Wanora on the weekend, among 230 vegetation fires across the state.
More than 60 were in the southeast region while fire permits have been cancelled in Ipswich, Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley.
One firefighter suffered from heat stress at Fernvale and one firefighter suffered minor burns at Linville on the weekend and a watch and act message was issues for Mutdapilly residents.
Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said the weekend was a clear sign the fire season is about four to six weeks ahead of schedule.
"We are talking about conditions very different to what we would normally experience at this time of year - conditions we haven't seen for some time, and conditions conducive to the rapid spread of fire," he said.
"We have more fuel on the ground than we've seen in a long time and soil moisture is extremely low with no immediate rain forecast."
Mr Crawford said the combination of prolonged dry conditions and high fuel loads meant the state was at risk of a long, active bushfire season.
"It's very dry out there and we need the public to be vigilant, ready to act and monitor the situation," Mr Crawford said.
"The weekend was just an example of the conditions we can regularly expect to see in coming months, particularly in western areas such as the Ipswich, Somerset, Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley regions.
"I'm asking residents to finalise their bushfire survival plans, including contingencies for pets and livestock should fire threaten their area."
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, between 50 and 100mm of rain is expected in southeast Queensland in the three months to October.
August to October is likely to be drier than average for most of mainland Australia. Much of eastern and southern mainland Australia have experienced a very dry first half of the year, so an outlook with increased chances of drier conditions indicates areas currently experiencing drought are less likely to see significant respite in the coming three months.
Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Janine Yuasa said a cold and dry air mass helped to keep temperatures below average.
Monday was the coldest August day since August 8 1995, dropping down to minus 3.3C. The minimum on Tuesday morning was only slightly warmer, at minus 2.2C.
"There is a dry outlook so it is still cool at night in the morning but day time temperatures will warm up in particular over the rest of the week," Ms Yuasa said.
"We might see another cold burst come through later in the week and this time next week could be cold once again.
"Late on Sunday we had quite a windy and cold change come through the southeast Queensland area so that brought the cooler and drier air mass we are currently under at the moment.
"Once the winds die down the temperatures drop quite efficiently overnight. Cooler dry air masses and clear skies help to cause the temperatures to drop."
Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said he encouraged residents to reduce fire risk around their homes and ensure they had a bushfire plan in place.
"Residents are also reminded, if they haven't already, to sign up to the council's early warning network. It is free to all Somerset residents and can be found by going to the council's website and registering. The service will send an SMS or email to residents if severe weather is likely in the area," he said.
"Our local rural fire brigades are volunteer operations and rely on the support of the community, the council and the State Government to perform their vital role."
"Somerset Regional Council will contribute more than $200,000 to local volunteer rural fire brigades and will also pass on more than $1.3 million to Queensland Fire and Emergency Services during 2018/2019."