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Worst fire conditions in 20 years spark Bracken Ridge blaze

Fire trucks from Chermside, Petrie and Eatons Hill were among those fighting the blaze at Bracken Ridge.
Fire trucks from Chermside, Petrie and Eatons Hill were among those fighting the blaze at Bracken Ridge. Renee McKeown

FIRES burning in Bracken Ridge last week sparked the beginning of what firefighters are calling the worst conditions in 20 years.

Strong winds and dry conditions fuelled a vegetation fire near Barrett Street and Quinlan Street in Bracken Ridge which started about 11am on Thursday.

Police and traffic controllers blocked off the road as fire crews battled the blaze and stopped it from jumping the street or endangering neighbouring properties.

Rural Fire Service regional manager Wayne Waltisbuhl said the conditions were a one in 20 year event.

He said the Bracken Ridge fire was one of the service's bigger ones for that day.

"There was one east of Kilcoy in the Conondale forest. One of our helicopters was trying to map it but they had to abort their mission because they calculated the winds at 80km/h and it was too dangerous to fly.

"This was a one in 20 year event when we get this fire danger and winds coming from the west.

"The current conditions are similar to 1994 when we had a massive fire come through the northern parts of Brisbane.

"The community was under threat and firefighters were injured and in the Beerburrum Forestry $30million worth of pine was destroyed.”

Bracken Ridge resident Shane Membery said three years ago they had a really bad fire in the neighbourhood.

"It's probably just kids lighting up again, it happens every school holidays.”

Last year there were a series of fires across the northside including in the Deagon and Boondall Wetlands, and Brisbane City Council has put up Report Arson signs around the area.

Mr Waltisbuhl said people need to be vigilant during the fire season.

"It usually goes from the first of August to early December or even February,” Mr Waltisbuhl said.

"The worst months are September, October and November.

"The winds are dry, land based and quite strong and we've just come out of winter, so the grass has dried out.

"This year could be quite a bad season.

"The forecast for rain is not until the end of October, beginning of November. That gives us six to eight weeks of potentially no rain.

"We need 50mm to take away the severity of this fire season.”

Residents are urged to prepare their homes and properties, listen to fire warnings and tune into local ABC radio.

"People need to be vigilant about what they're doing,” Mr Waltisbuhl said.

"Adhere to our warnings about the severity.

"People need a fire plan, should they fight or evacuate, (and) what to do with pets, livestock.”

For more details or to prepare a plan visit www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au.

Topics:  bracken ridge fire fire safety fire season fire warning


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