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Records set to sizzle in Qld heatwave

Wednesday September 25, 2013 - 11:14 EST
ABC image
A large fire ignited by dry lightning a week ago is still burning near the Carnarvon National Park. - ABC

An extreme fire warning is in place for vast parts of Queensland today with temperatures set to soar into the record books.

The Queensland Rural Fire Service (QRFS) says heat and strong westerly winds have increased the bushfire risk across southern, central and western Queensland.

Emerald, Longreach and Charleville are all expected to approach 40 degrees today and tomorrow.

QRFS director Peter Varley says with winds of up to 50 kilometres per hour any new fires will be fast-moving and uncontrollable.

"We expect those conditions without any rain will continue to worsen up to Thursday then move closer to the coast," Mr Varley said.

"It's very, very dry at the minute - no moisture in the air.

"That combined with winds particularly from the west because they always tend to be the warmer hot winds, that's what causes the worst fire danger days."

Big blaze

A large fire ignited by dry lightning a week ago is still burning near the Carnarvon National Park.

It has now burnt out more than 100,000 hectares.

Tamara Badenoch from Agforce says it is another setback for drought-stricken farmers.

"Obviously when a fire goes through a property it's not just things like fences that are burnt down," she said.

"It's their pastures and paddocks that they rely on to feed stock and potentially they've got grain paddocks they haven't harvested yet so there could be assistance needed."

Tracks close

The Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) has closed three walking tracks and put a fire ban in place on the Cooloola Coast.

Open fires have been prohibited at Fraser Island, Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area and Cooloola Recreation Area.

Parks Minister Steve Dickson says rangers are also escorting people away from remote areas.

"Right throughout Queensland we're going to be hit with some very, very high temperatures in the next couple of days and we're being extremely proactive through our department," Mr Dickson said.

"The fire risk is going to be even higher and the potential of people possibly being caught if there is a fire - we would lose people's lives and we will never ever put people's lives at risk."

A dozen firefighters are back-burning today after a large grass fire west of Maryborough in the south east.

The fast moving blaze at North Aramara destroyed an abandoned bus and threatened one home.

The blaze has burnt 20 hectares of bushland.

Records

Senior forecaster Ben Annells says temperatures are likely to head into the history books before a change arrives towards the weekend.

"It's likely we'll see temperature records broken today and tomorrow through many locations out over the interior of the state and even over the Darling Downs as well with that trough moving through tomorrow."

Tony Stroud from the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) says residents should delay any activities which could spark fires.

"Rider mowers hitting a rock, especially in very dry grass can put a spark," he said.

"Graders will spark onto any kind of rock or dozers and once that happens it's really hard for that machine to just turn around and put that fire out.

"They either need to suspend that [activity] or have a fire unit behind them."


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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