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Bushfire warning as north-west Qld braces for heat

By Sam Burgess and Kate Stephens, Thursday January 3, 2013 - 09:33 EDT

A severe fire weather warning has been issued for a large swathe of north and west Queensland.

The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) says temperatures around 45 degrees Celsius and low humidity are predicted in the Northern Goldfields and Upper Flinders, the north-west and Channel Country over the next few days.

QFRS regional manager for rural operations, Ken Beasley, says a lack of rain has created tinder-dry conditions.

"Some areas won't be as affected by the fire danger rating today, but other areas where there's still very dry conditions - certainly grassland - is vulnerable and fire spread will be quite dangerous if a fire is started today," he said.

Mr Beasley has urged the public not to light any fires and report any they see.

"It would be unwise to light fires in these conditions," he said.

"What we have seen over the last couple of months while these conditions have been present is that people have been acting very responsibly."

QFRS area director Gavin Fryar says low humidity, strong winds and high temperatures can be a deadly mix.

He says people need to continue to think about their actions and the conditions.

"People have behaved very well - we haven't been getting many reports that haven't been fires from accidental or natural causes, which is mainly lightning strikes," he said.

"We have had a good response from the public but we are asking the public to be very vigilant."

He says people need to be very careful using machinery outdoors or lighting campfires for cooking.

"Any fires that are going make sure they're extinguished and even be very aware of their own safety," he said.

"It's going to be very hot - they need to remain hydrated drink plenty of water and be safe."

'Live with it'

Birdsville in the state's far south-west is predicted to reach 46 degrees Celsius in the next few days.

While mid-40s temperatures are nothing new for the town, Birdsville resident David Pasik says locals find a way to deal with the heat.

"It's still hot for us - just out here you've just got to work with it and live with it," he said.

"We get up and sort of work from 5:00am until 10:00am or 10:30am whenever it reaches the 40 mark and then head inside to do some paperwork for a few hours until it cools down."

Mr Pasik says after work residents will then find somewhere to cool off.

"The school has a swimming pool - it will be pretty popular on Saturday but we've got a pretty large billabong which people can swim in," he said.

"It's quite good - it's quite fresh - that could be the place to be we normally all end up down at the spot called Pelican Point."


© ABC 2013

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