CENTRAL Queensland is on a red hot alert after crews battled 49 new vegetation fires across the region in 24 hours.

There are fears that the situation could worsen today with flames fanned by strong south-westerly winds, with gusts up to 35kmh expected to arrive last night.

In the 24 hours to 7am yesterday, firefighters battled and contained the new flames across the central region with the worst at Westwood still under observation late yesterday.

While it was the worst day so far since the bushfire season flared up last month, scattered showers last night brought some relief for exhuasted firefighters.

Superintendent for the Queensland Fire Service, Col May, said the region, stretching south from Miriam Vale to Airlie Beach and west to Longreach, had the most sustained fire activity for the state.

Fatigued local and interstate firefighters continued to battle several grassfires in the Mt Morgan area including the most recent blaze on the eastern side of the range which started on Monday. Yesterday's big concern was blocking the fire from spreading into the township of Bouldercombe.

Regional manager rural operations John Fisher said while rain late yesterday had given firefighters a temporary repreive, the blaze was expected to pick up again this afternoon.

He said crews were working with National Parks to get rid of undergrowth and back-burn on the southern side of Mt Morgan.

Crews also worked to contain a grassfire on Cherryfield Road at Gracemere which started about 11.30am. Several homes were protected from the blaze.

With the dangerous fire weather conditions expected to continue through to the weekend, authorities are warning residents to avoid dangerous situations that have the potential to trigger a fire.

A new crew of 16 and another four senior officers were brought from Brisbane to relieve local firefighters yesterday and are expected to return home on Sunday.

Fire bans will remain in place across the region until midnight Monday, October 12.



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