Forecast favours fires

ROCKHAMPTON forecaster Mike Griffin says Rocky rural residents and firefighters may be facing a repeat of the severe weather conditions that caused the 2009 bushfires emergency in North Rockhampton.

The experienced weather forecaster of nearly 40 years said yesterday that the region's firies would need to get ready for higher temperatures ranging in the mid 30s.

"Last weekend the humidity in Rockhampton got down to 6% and Gladstone 7%," Mr Griffin said.

"These conditions plus the high cure state of the grassland and scrubs assisted by dry gusty westerly winds fanned many fires across CQ.

"If we don't get any moisture on Thursday and Friday then we could be seeing these conditions again."

Mr Griffin reminded residents that the second anniversary of the Rockhampton fires of 2009 was only a week and a half away.

"Ironically next weekend the temperatures should rise into the mid thirties and almost 38 to 39 degrees in the Central West, our hottest days this spring," he said.

QFRS assistant commissioner for the Central region Neil Gallant said this weekend's weather was not looking favourable.

"It is a little too early too predict specific conditions but we may get back up into the severe conditions due to the dry westerly winds and high temperatures," he said.

Mr Gallant said the Rockhampton authorities were working with state operations in order to be as prepared as possible.

"We will be bringing in another strike team from Brisbane along with the 18 other crews from both Mackay and Brisbane that have been here since Sunday," he said.

"We don't want to take any chances so we're planning for the worst."

Mr Griffin wished to warn residents that the smallest spark could become a bushfire.

"It's advised every precaution be taken not to light or start fires," he said.

"The dry air can spark static electricity which could exacerbate the conditions.

"Any spark from faulty equipment - a car exhaust, a motor mower, an angle grinder or a cigarette butt can be prevented from happening with just a little care."



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