Are you prepared for bushfire season?

Ipswich residents should not let the city’s increasingly urban feel lull them into a false sense of security when it comes to bushfire preparedness.

That is the word from Rural Fire Service area director for West Moreton, Paul Storrs, after an intense start to bushfire season.

Fire crews went into last weekend on high alert, cancelling all permits to burn amid concerns dry conditions and plentiful fuel loads combined with forecast high winds could spell trouble.

They were not wrong, with a fast-moving grass fire breaking out at Mutdapilly.

It prompted a watch and act warning and took several crews and a water-bombing helicopter to bring the blaze under control on Sunday.

Mr Storrs said it had been a busy start to the fire season.

“Fire season officially started on August 1 and already we have had quite a number of fires across the region,” he said.

Mr Storrs said it was imperative anyone who lived near bushland or heavily grassed areas have a bushfire survival plan.

“In Ipswich areas of particular concern include anywhere along the Cunningham Highway and west of Ipswich out to Grandchester and Marburg,” he said.

“We have even had fires breakout to the north of Ipswich in the Pine Mountain area.

“Ipswich is actually surrounded by quite a heavy fuel load.

Photo courtesy QFES Media.

“The bottom line is anyone living near bushland areas needs to have a bushfire survival plan and do the things around their house that need to be done.

“That is things like cleaning out your gutters, picking up any junk around the yard and making sure they have a garden hose that can stretch right around the house.”

A quick and easy-to-follow guide for creating a bushfire survival plan is available at

Mr Storrs said he did not expect the fire threat to ease until significant rain fell across the region.

“People need to be very, very careful and understand how easy it is to start a fire, even using a lawn mower or a slasher can start a fire,” he said.

“We’ve had one fire already this season that was started by a grinder and it burned 50 acres.

“At the end of the day, until we get some rain we expect the conditions to remain very favourable to fires.”

The Bureau of Meteorology in its August to October Climate and Water Outlook predicted rainfall was likely to be below average across the southeast with above-average temperatures likely.

The West Moreton rural fire group can be contacted on 3294 4944 for non-urgent advice about fire preparedness. To report a fire phone 000.

Millimetres - Ipswich's rain so far for August

Millimetres - Ipswich's Rain for July

Millimetres - Ipswich's Rain for June

What you can do to be prepared

Around the home

  • Clear leaves, twigs, bark and other debris from the roof and gutters.
  • Purchase and test the effectiveness of gutter plugs.
  • Enclose open areas under decks and floors.
  • Install fine steel wire mesh screens on all windows, doors, vents and weep holes.
  • Point LPG cylinder relief valves away from the house.
  • Conduct maintenance checks on pumps, generators and water systems.
  • Seal all gaps in external roof and wall cladding.
  • Relocate flammable items away from your home, including woodpiles, paper, boxes, crates, hanging baskets and garden furniture.

Make it easy for emergency services

  • Display a prominent house or lot number, in case it is required in an emergency.
  • Ensure there is adequate access to your property for fire trucks – four metres wide by four metres high, with a turn-around area.

In the garden

  • Reduce vegetation loads along the access path.
  • Mow your grass regularly.
  • Remove excess ground fuels and combustible material (long dry grass, dead leaves and branches).
  • Trim low-lying branches two metres from the ground surrounding your home.

Take care of yourself

  • Check that you have sufficient personal protective clothing and equipment.
  • Check the first aid kit is fully stocked.
  • Make sure you have appropriate insurance for your home and vehicles.
  • Have a bushfire survival plan.

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