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Qld fires give preview for summer bushfire season

By Brock Taylor and Josh Bavas, Friday September 13, 2013 - 14:53 EST
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Authorities say they will crack down on those who deliberately light fires or fail to comply with permit conditions. - ABC

Parts of Queensland are showing signs of what may be in store for the state during the summer bushfire season.

In north Queensland, firefighters spent the day containing grassfires at Sarina south of Mackay where cattle yards and a shed were threatened before the fires were brought under control.

One person was treated for smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion at the scene.

Meanwhile in central Queensland, the weather bureau says there is little relief in sight from heat wave conditions.

The mercury has climbed into the high 30's in Rockhampton and the Central Highlands.

Bureau spokesman Benj Blunt says the hot weather is set to continue into next week.

"There's not going to be too much change in our weather pattern for the next four or five days by the looks of things so they'll stay roughly around that," he said.

The bureau says hot, dry and gusty winds are being pushed ahead of a trough that is moving eastwards across central Australia.

A severe fire danger warning is in place for the western Channel Country, southern central-west and the eastern Maranoa and Warrego districts where temperatures in the high 30's are forecast.

Firefighters are worried the conditions are creating a tinderbox.

Rural Fire Service acting regional manager Col Neal says they are also concerned about their ability to fight blazes as they break out because of the lack of surface water.

"The ground has really dried out so there's no moisture in the ground which will generally help us out," he said.

"The other thing we're really worried about at the moment is the lack of surface water.

"The water is not in the dams so what we've relied on in the past for filling up our aircraft water bombers, that water supply is not there this year."

Closer to coast, three fires have been burning in the Gold Coast hinterland but no property has been threatened.

Firefighters have been called to fires at Mudgeeraba, Kooralbyn and Yarrabilba, north of Tamborine.

The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service says it is ready to crack down on those who deliberately light fires or fail to comply with permit conditions.

Assistant Commissioner Ewan Cayzer says these actions put the lives of residents, frontline emergency services personnel and property at risk.

"The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, in conjunction with Queensland Police Service and [the Department of] National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racingm is committed to community education, identifying suspicious fires and ultimately catching those who start them," he said.


© ABC 2013

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