Rural firefighters worked through the day to dampen hot spots and prevent a flare up at the Pechey bushfire, north of Toowoomba, yesterday. Picture: Michael Nolan
Rural firefighters worked through the day to dampen hot spots and prevent a flare up at the Pechey bushfire, north of Toowoomba, yesterday. Picture: Michael Nolan

Severe fire danger returns to Darling Downs, Granite Belt

THE Darling Downs and Granite Belt will today return to a severe fire danger rating with strong winds expected to lash the region.

Western Australian firefighters arrived in the Darling Downs last night to relieve fatigued local crews who have worked tirelessly to stop the spread of the Pechey fire.

Rural Fire Service Acting Regional Manager Tim Chittenden said conditions from today would be similar to those on Tuesday and Wednesday which had fuelled a fast-moving bushfire at Pechey.

“Everywhere is tinder-dry,” Mr Chittenden said.

“We will see a return to severe fire weather on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”

Almost 1000 hectares of forestry and land has been burned near Pechey where the fire-front reached about 25km.

Flames up to 30m were reported in the Pechey pine plantation area.

Mr Chittenden the Western Australian crews would go into action today.

“Our crews are putting in some really big hours and are getting worn out, but we’re managing that fatigue,” he said.

“They’re all very passionate and want to be out there.

“This fire is going to be going for a number of days.”

He said all RFS units in the region were well-prepared to respond to any fire outbreaks in the coming days, with particular attention turning to known problem areas.

Mr Chittenden said typical problem areas, or isolated pockets where extreme fire conditions could form, were in the western fringes and forested ranges such as around Goondiwindi.

While crews were prepared, Mr Chittenden said residents should not become complacent about the potential bushfire risks, and urged them to report any fires immediately, and review their bushfire survival plans.



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