BREAKING: 11.30am - FIRE authorities are warning Central Western residents of heightened risk of grass fires today and this weekend.
Residents are being urged to prepare their homes and properties, and visit the Rural Fire Service website to download a bushfire survival plan.
The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service's regional manager of rural operations for the central region Brian Smith urged residents to be careful when conducting hazard reduction burns and using machinery.
"This weekend we're expecting severe fire weather for parts of the region, in particular south and west of Longreach, which will include very hot and dry winds in excess of 40 km/hr," Mr Smith said.
"Temperatures will be high and relative humidity will be low - these conditions make it very difficult to contain vegetation fires which flare up, so we're asking residents to take extra care.
"Residents conducting permit burns must follow the conditions of the permit to a tee and ensure containment lines are secured.
"If possible, they should consider delaying burns.
"Sparks from grinders and other common machinery can easily ignite grassland and a major bushfire can take hold very quickly.
"Landowners should minimise the risk of a fire starting by taking precautions and having firefighting equipment present to extinguish any fire.
"Don't be careless with cigarette butts either.
"I've seen some devastating fires caused by cigarette butts tossed out car windows.
"This is so easily prevented and I'm calling on the community to please use some common sense."
For more information visit www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au