Bushfire battle begins
IPSWICH may have just come out of a brief wet spell and the daytime temperatures are still mild, but for the region's firefighters, the battle to keep bushfires at bay begins now.
Several hazard reduction burns have been conducted near Ipswich over the past few weeks, as part of a campaign to reduce the amount of potential fuel for fire.
Warrego Hwy commuters might have noticed a small burning operation being conducted right next to the Brisbane-bound lanes at Ironbark on Thursday, while a team of firefighters working for Queensland Fire and Rescue's training and emergency management unit have recently conducted similar burns near Redbank Plains and Kholo.
QFRS director of rural operations Corey Bock said recent frosts had helped dry out a lot of the vegetation that could fuel a fire later in the year.
"This year's fire season is starting to shape up, especially after a few frosts in the Ipswich, Lockyer and Somerset areas," Mr Bock said.
"With the heavy rainfall that has occurred throughout 2011 and 2012, there is an abundance of fuel, in the form of grass, that is about 80% dead."
Thursday's burn-off targeted a small area of long, dry grassland near the intersection of the Warrego Hwy and Schultzs Rd.
The training and emergency management unit will be targeting more of these areas over the coming weeks in an effort to reduce the threat that will come with higher temperatures and dry, westerly winds later in the year.
There are plans to conduct hazard reduction burning at Woolshed Creek Reserve, west of Marburg, over four days from Friday.
Mr Bock said there had been enough rain in heavily forested areas to alleviate the risk of serious bush or forest fires.
"The problem I do see this year will be fast-moving grass fires in the open grassland paddocks," he said.