Regional crews lend a hand
CREWS from Chinchilla, Miles, Jandowae and Dalby fire stations have stepped up to lend a hand to fellow firefighters this week as they battle the inferno engulfing Stanthorpe and surrounding areas.
With the fires burning across large portions of the state, emergency services personnel have worked tirelessly to control blazes and protect citizens.
QFES area commander for south western region Inspector Warren Buckley said on Tuesday they were on their third rotation, with a crew going down for a night shift at Stanthorpe.
"Our Stanthorpe crews have been working non-stop for several days,” Inspector Buckley said.
"So we've stood down the Stanthorpe crews and our crews from Dalby, Chinchilla and Miles are actually responding down there tonight (Tuesday night) to do night shift to look after the community of Stanthorpe.
"[Monday] we sent a task force from Chinchilla and Jandowae so they've done a day shift... they've been extremely busy down there and combating fires in the Ballandean area.
"On Saturday afternoon we had crews assemble and respond from Dalby station and they went down for a seven-eight-hour period to give the local crews a rest.
"We're cycling crews around and everybody's stretched at the moment.
"We're very happy with the way things are in the Western Downs Regional Council area and people can still feel safe.”
Quiet at home
Inspector Buckely complemented the way people of the Western Downs on being fire safe during the week.
"There's been no major outbreaks and we are happy with the way people are taking heed of this,” he said.
"We'd like that to continue until we start getting some rain so we can handle these fires because, at the moment, when we get to catastrophic, we cannot handle the fires.
"Nothing we do will help stop these fires.
"Be extra vigilant, keep up the good work the community is doing, they are being mindful, just a few little slip-ups here and there which we've been able to handle at this stage.”
Being mindful of outdoor activities that can cause sparks is one way Western Downs residents can ensure residents stay safe.
"We don't want any accidents happening, we've had a few started by grinders, welders, and ... we're asking people to limit those for the time being until we actually get some rain to cut down that risk.
"We've been responding to several fires, mainly in the afternoons around the highway areas.
"If you're a smoker, don't drop cigarette butts out the window, within a couple of minutes they can have six-metre flame heights on the side of the road and cause all sorts of issues and property threat to structures and other vehicles.”
There is a complete fire ban in place which means no outdoor cooking fires.
In addition to being mindful about not sparking fires, residents should also take care while travelling if they encounter smoke.
"If you're driving through smoke, ensure you've got your lights on, drive slowly and drive to the conditions.”