HEATWAVE: Records topple as Ipswich heads into scorcher week
A SEVERE fire warning is in place across Ipswich heading into a hot and dangerous weekend.
One veteran firefighter said the conditions were the worst he had seen in more than 20 years.
A total fire ban was in place in Ipswich and other south-east regions at the weekend when temperatures soared into the high 30s.
That ban will likely be repeated this week as authorities brace for a 39-degree day on Thursday, combined with hot winds, ahead of another hot weekend.
Yesterday was the hottest September Ipswich day since 1943 while the long-term record in Gatton was broken.
The Amberley weather station recorded temperatures of 37 degrees, and at Gatton the mercury reached 38.7 degrees, taking out the record of 38.5 degrees set in 2000.
Yesterday afternoon two fires were burning near Atkinson Dam. Eleven units responded to one grass fire, reported just before 2pm.
The massive response comes as the region's top rural firefighter, Rural Fire Service regional manager Superintendent Alan Gillespie, warned residents to be extra vigilant.
He said if the forecasters have it right, this week will be dangerous.
Superintendent Gillespie's team is already making plans for the week ahead during what he says is the worst fire season since 1994.
"People have been really vigilant and that's excellent that they recognise the seriousness of the situation, especially when you think that we are still in September," Superintendent Gillespie said yesterday.
IPSWICH WEATHER SNAPSHOT
- Monday: Max 38 degrees
- Tuesday: Max 36 degrees
- Wednesday: Max 33 degrees
- Thursday: Max 39 degrees (hot and windy)
"I congratulate the public for working with us. Our volunteers are part of the local community and we've been fortunate this weekend produced few fires."
He warned that vigilance needs to continue as the "situation will get worse before it gets better".
He said hot winds, low humidity and the abundance of fuel on the ground following a growth spurt in vegetation after cyclone Debbie swept through the region was a recipe for disaster.
"We are looking at some really hot conditions later in the week.
"The biggest thing for us is the wind combined with the low humidity.
"It can be very hot but if we have no wind and it's quite humid, then that won't drive fire.
"It's the combination of dry winds with very low humidity in the current climate where it's very dry and lots of fuel on the ground.
"It's hot windy weather that's very dry, they are the days we really get concerned.
"Summer is not even here yet and yet we are seeing increasing fire behaviour.
"We haven't had fires like this since 1994."
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