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Fire crews do long hours

FIRES PUSH FIGHTERS: Queensland Fire and Rescue Service incident controller Mark Long of Murgon Station directed firefighters across the South Burnett as fires blazed over the weekend.
FIRES PUSH FIGHTERS: Queensland Fire and Rescue Service incident controller Mark Long of Murgon Station directed firefighters across the South Burnett as fires blazed over the weekend. Kate Benedict

ABOUT 50 firefighters have been fighting blazes across the South Burnett every day since Wednesday.

And extreme temperatures and thunderstorms over the weekend intensified the situation.

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service deputy incident controller Mark Long said an incident control centre was in place at Murgon Fire Station from 8am Friday.

"The control centre was there to manage blazes across the Kingaroy fire region," Mr Long said.

"Blazes were fought in Ballogie, Durong, Cobbs Hill, Redgate, Manumbar and Black Snake Rd, Kilkivan."

Local fire crews were also joined by two strike teams that travelled to the area to assist with the blazes over the weekend.

"We had a strike team from Gympie and Hervey Bay here initially and then they were replaced with crews from Maryborough and the Sunshine Coast on Sunday," Mr Long said.

Strike teams are still on standby to return to the area should the fires increase in intensity.

"It's certainly been a bad few days with many of these fires caused by lightning strikes," Mr Long said.

The nine separate fires over the weekend meant crews were spread across a large geographical area.

More than 800 hectares of land was burnt out in the region with the largest affected area being Durong, followed by Redgate.

Mr Long said the damage was contained to fences and feed with no reports of livestock or personal property being affected.

Despite the successful operation to contain the fires Mr Long sent out a stern warning to anyone thinking of lighting a fire.

"All of our people have got families and want to be home with them," he said.

"Some of our guys have been spending 14 hours fighting fires and they have just as much right to be home with their families as anybody else.

"We're just asking people to be cautious when lighting fires."

He also warned there were serious consequences for anyone not obeying fire regulations.

"If people light fires bigger than 2m in any direction without a permit they can be charged under our legislation," he said.

"The penalty is a $550 fine, which is also the amount if they choose not to report a fire or not to attempt to extinguish a fire. Fires under 2m in any direction are managed under local laws under South Burnett Council.

"If we go to extinguish a fire outside our levied area the landholder is liable for the use of our appliances which is $341 per hour.

"People inside city limits all pay a fire levy but people outside this area pay a rural equipment levy but not a fire levy. These are the people who may be sent an invoice for our services."

Yesterday at noon the only active fire was at Cobbs Hill in the Cloyna region but Mr Long said predicted severe thunderstorms for Monday afternoon were concerning.

Further information can be found at ruralfires.com.au.

South Burnett

Topics:  firefighters, fires, murgon, south burnett


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