Craig Warhurst

Fire crews brace for weekend

IT'S all hands on deck as Queensland Fire and Rescue Service in Rockhampton prepare major operations for a very high to extreme fire danger weekend.

The Regional Operations Co-ordination Centre (ROCC) was in full swing yesterday with fire activity mapped out and closely monitored, coordination of regional resources and two water-bombing aircrafts already in action.

Superintendent John Fisher said with north-westerly winds and a south-westerly change expected over the weekend, if a large fire changed direction it could become a danger zone.

“We have the same sort of scenario as the Black Saturday fires in Victoria this weekend, with strong winds that have the potential to change direction,” Mr Fisher said.

He said there had been close to 100 fires across the region throughout the week, and the significant blaze in Mount Morgan started to threaten several properties yesterday, stretching about 2000 hectares at its peak.

Mr Fisher said they were likely to need further resources from outside the region over the weekend.

And to add to the mix, more dry and hot weather is expected today and tomorrow, as well as the possibility of another dust storm.

As firefighters continue to battle CQ's blazes, Mr Fisher said yesterday's major priority was to knock over the Mount Morgan flames before the bad weekend weather.

“We have about three significant fires and other smaller fires burning across the central region, but we are getting ready for things to change over the weekend,” Mr Fisher said.

Crews yesterday went back to a fire at Calliope that had worsened on Thursday, was under control yesterday, but then active again later in the day.

Several fire crews worked to control a blaze at Ilbilbie, south of Mackay, which briefly threatened houses yesterday afternoon.

The fire started just after midday on the side of the Bruce Highway.

He said the main aim of the ROCC was to look at the bigger picture and prepare for support outside of the region if necessary as well as being ready for fires that may hit.

“The reason we stood up is because there is the potential for a big fire this weekend and big fires into next week,” he said.

The fire bans will continue across the region until Monday with the potential to be extended further into the week.

The last time complete fire bans were put into action across the region was in the early 90's.

There is the potential for a big fire this weekend and big fires into next week


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