South Burnett rural inspector Marty Taylor and Kingaroy area commander Mark Long urge residents to check their smoke alarms this winter and bushfire season.
South Burnett rural inspector Marty Taylor and Kingaroy area commander Mark Long urge residents to check their smoke alarms this winter and bushfire season. Jessica McGrath

Dry winter raises bushfire risk

AS THE first winds pick up in August, South Burnett fire fighters are getting prepared for bushfire season.

South Burnett Rural Inspector Marty Taylor said August was typically the beginning of bushfire season, and the days were already getting very windy.

"The winds are only set to increase now that we're at the beginning of August,” he said.

There has already been several vegetation fires early on in the season.

Most properties in the South Burnett are quite dry due to limited rain and the drought conditions.

"Very dry and warm, windy conditions are causing these fires to take off very easily and quickly,” Mr Taylor said.

He urges people to have appropriate equipment and adequate water on scene if they plan to have a camp fire, so they can contain any sort of outbreak.

Mr Taylor said any further frost will not affect the chances of fires any more, because most vegetation is completely dead.

"Everything now is available fuel for any fire,” he said.

The firefighter warned people to still be careful and vigilant with fire safety.

"It's easy to get complacent with the cold mornings, now that its warmer outside,” he said.

Weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke said the risk of bush fires was a bit higher this time around, compared to other years.

"It's probably a higher than normal bushfire risk this time around, we've had the growth that's dried out earlier than normal due to a lack of recent rain,” he said.

The wet month of February allowed a big growth spurt of vegetation and with little rain since, the plants have progressively dried over the season, creating plenty of bushfire fuel.

August has had no recordable rain at this point.

July recorded 22mm of rain this year, which nearly all fell in the first week of the month.

This was fairly close to the monthly average, however July last year recorded 53mm.

The month of June recorded 25mm of rain which beat last year's June rainfall of 8mm.

"We're below what occurred last year during this time,” Mr Dutschke said.

Throughout August, it will be reasonably breezy most days.

Wind speeds should remain below about 25km/h for the next week and a half.

Next Sunday, August 19, is predicted to be the windiest day, with wind gusts nearing about 50km/h in the afternoon.

August is typically the windiest month for most of Australia, and the winds often have a significant impact on bushfire risks.

The winds are caused by the strong cool fronts from Western Australia and the warm fronts in the northern end in the lead up to the warmer season of spring, Mr Dutschke said.

The temperature contrast starting to develop between the southern and northern parts of Australia also impact the increase of winds towards the end of winter.