Firefighters warn of worst fire danger
By CHRIS LYNCHchrisl@gladstoneobserver.com.au
MIKE Sibley has warned that this year could be the worst fire season in the Gladstone region for 20 years.
The Westowe Rural Fire Brigade first officer has spent the past week battling blazes and said already he was seeing indications people were not prepared to deal with exceedingly bad conditions.
'This fire season is going to be a beauty,' Mr Sibley said.
'Things are drier than they have been in the last 20 years.
'There are logs that have been on the ground for five and six years but everything is burning this year.'
Mr Sibley said many property owners were having difficulty reading warning signs this season.
Controlled burns have been suspected of causing some fires, with several getting out of control in the region recently after being fanned by winds.
Mr Sibley said his colleagues had faced situations where fires broke away from fire-fighters and burnt out large tracts of inaccessible land.
He said valuable cattle fodder and fences had been destroyed in large amounts.
Mr Sibley pleaded with anyone considering back-burning to get the correct permits and contact the required number before lighting fires.
'People are not ringing Firecom beforehand and we are getting called out to jobs that are a waste of our time,' he said.
Already this week thousands of acres have been scorched in the Old Ten Chain Road and Woodstock areas near Calliope.
A massive blaze is being monitored and kept in control in inaccessible grazing land near Yarwun, sending smoke into the atmosphere visible from parts of Gladstone.
No causes for the fires have been confirmed.