Region sizzles and burns under intense summer sun
SCORCHING heat and gusty winds made for an uncomfortable and hazy weekend throughout the Gympie region and intensified a bushfire threat near Tin Can Bay yesterday.
Gympie ambulance officer-in-charge Wayne Sachs said emergency workers were called to treat four elderly people for heat exhaustion over the weekend, a modest number considering Gympie's maximum on Saturday was an oppressive 37.7 degrees and an even higher 38.2 degrees on Sunday, seven degrees above the January average.
Mr Sachs said that given the conditions he would have expected more cases of heat exhaustion, but the installation of air-conditioning in many homes had helped alleviate the health threat.
Conflicting reports from various government departments described the Tin Can Bay fire as a new blaze ignited by the inhospitable weather conditions at the weekend, while other departments maintained it was the same fire that has been burning through hundreds of hectares of inaccessible,
heath country and swampy tidal flats at Camp Kerr for the past week and a half.
The fire changed direction at the weekend which is what brought the rural fire brigades and forestry back in to the fight, after they handed monitoring and control over to the Camp Kerr authorities on Friday, one spokesman said.
The Gympie rural fire service headquarters at Maryborough refused to reveal the exact location of the blaze, though its official location on updates posted on the Queensland Rural Fire Service website was Tin Can Bay Rd, Tin Can Bay.
Whatever its origin, the fire had moved closer to Tin Can Bay Rd yesterday, was still burning within containment lines and being closely monitored by fire crews.
Fires also broke out near Shamrock Rd at Blake Snake on Saturday and at Western Rd in the Bauple State Forest yesterday.
The Black Snake fire was under control and the Bauple blaze was being monitored but posed no threat yesterday, the QRFS website said.
Scattered, very light showers helped bring the region's temperature down below 30 degrees by mid-afternoon yesterday after it reached a maximum of 36 degrees.
Possible storms and rain were hoped for last night, and showers today, with an expected maximum of a much-cooler 32 degrees.