Firefighters are facing an extended season due to the weather.
Firefighters are facing an extended season due to the weather. John McCutcheon

Dry conditions, little rain means fire season burns on

GYMPIE'S firefighters are facing one of their toughest years as the dry conditions extend the fire season past its usual end.

Traditionally stretching to late January or early February, crews continue to battle blazes across Queensland.

Rural Fire Brigades Association general manager Justin Choveaux said it was one of busiest seasons of his 31 years as a volunteer.

"Going into February and March is not the norm,” Mr Choveaux said, adding his own crew had even been called out four times in one day last month.

"The fire season is still going, and the wet season has not arrived.

"They're fighting more fires than they have for many years at this time of year.”

The lack of rain has exacerbated conditions, and none called for in the forecast could eventually lead to a drought declaration, which Bundaberg has just received.

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Aside from increasing the danger, Mr Choveaux said the lack of water made fighting fires much harder as it increased the turnaround time for crews, resulting in more appliances and manpower being needed to keep containment.

"As waterholes dry up, we can't get access to water.”

QFES Maryborough area director Konrad Sawczynski said the extremely dry soil and lack of rain across the entire region, which also stretches south to the Sunshine Coast and as far north as Bundaberg, was a concern.

Inspector Sawczynski said the North Coast Region, which includes the Fraser Coast, was leading the way with the worst fire conditions across the country.

Crews had already responded to 250 calls since January. Five fire crews are currently working along with National Parks crews to strengthen containment lines at Burrum Heads as a fire continues to burn.

The fire in Burrum National Park has been burning for four days and crews are expected to continue to contain the blaze until later in the week.

On Monday alone in Maryborough there were five fires burning.

He said while it was never too late for residents to clean up properties, with high to very high fire conditions across the region, extreme caution was vital.

"If you hit a rock with machinery it can spark a fire or if a faulty piece of machinery overheats it can start a fire.

"It's about being sensible and ensuring you get information from the local fire warden and brigades.”