Weather News

Southern Queensland weather forecast to bring severe fire danger and 40-degree heatwave

By Lexy Hamilton-Smith, Monday October 7, 2019 - 17:19 EDT
ABC image
Temperatures are expected to build, with Tuesday forecast to be especially hot and windy. - ABC

A wave of dangerous severe fire weather is about to hit southern Queensland with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecasting heatwave conditions as temperatures soar up to 40 degrees Celsius in parts of the state.

The BOM said on Monday's public holiday and Tuesday would be the hottest days with very dry, windy conditions.

Gusts of over 50 kilometres per hour are expected to wreak havoc over the south-east region with 15 fires already burning, three in rugged and difficult terrain.

Ipswich and the Lockyer Valley will be among the regions most at risk on Monday.

There are also severe fire dangers listed for the Darling Downs, Granite Belt, Maranona and Warrego.

On Tuesday, the hazardous conditions will stretch to Blackwater, Taroom, Gayndah and in the Central West around Winton and Julia Creek.

They will also extend to Brisbane and the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, where residents are still reeling that saw embers rain down on the entire town.


BOM forecaster Kimba Wong said Tuesday was flagged as the worst day for fire weather with "a big burst of heat and wind on the way".

"Freshening north-westerly winds, combining with these hot temperatures, are causing concern — really perfect conditions for bushfires to get going."

Rural Fire Service acting director Wayne Waltisbuhl said while conditions would not be at risk of turning catastrophic, as they were last month, the "spike will still be bad".

"We will still see severe danger areas and for prolonged periods of the day," he said.

"Severe fire danger is just that — severe.

"It is a long season and this has been going now for a couple of months and we do not see any relief in this right up until after Christmas."

While some storms are also forecast over the next few days they will come with very little moisture, increasing the threat of dry lightning strikes.

"This is a real concern," Mr Waltisbuhl said.

He said none of the current bushfires were threatening properties.

Mr Waltisbuhl said last month's Canungra fire and destroyed 11 homes was still burning and would be for weeks, working its way through inaccessible scrubland.

Fire authorities urged people to remain vigilant and to make common-sense decisions when working in hot dry conditions subject to fire bans.

"We are really serious about removing any potential for ignition sources," Mr Waltisbuhl said.

"We do not want to stop people operating in [a] bush environment.

"But if you are doing jobs like mowing, slashing, grinding and welding in high vegetation areas you need to be really cautious.

"You need to have a spotter there with you, someone who can see a spark and quickly access some sort of extinguisher.

"Whether it be a garden hose or a knapsack it needs to be something that can put those sparks out very quickly.

"With these conditions we have coming, it will only take one small spark for a fire to grow rapidly and be out of people's control, if they are not prepared."

The bureau said conditions should ease from Wednesday with a southerly change moving up the coast.

"Temperatures should then drop by about 10 degrees, which will return thing to normal for this time of year," Ms Wong said.


© ABC 2019

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