La Nina storms needed to prevent bushfires in Queensland

Queensland firefighters have battled more than a dozen blazes across the south of the state in the past 24 hours and are desperately hoping La Nina-generated storms arrive soon.

A fire ban has been put in place for the weekend for Logan, across the Scenic Rim, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley and Somerset local government areas with no significant rain predicted for the next week.

It comes as emergency services fought bush, grass and vegetation fires from as far north as Gladstone, across to Dalby in the Western Downs as well as on the Sunshine Coast, Ipswich and Fraser Island.

Most of the blazes were brought under control fairly quickly although a ‘stay informed’ notice remains active at Kooralbyn in the Scenic Rim region where a bushfire started last Monday.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Superintendent James Haig said battling more than a dozen outbreaks in one day was “not unusual” for this time of year.

However, he wanted the predicted storms to douse the south and west of the state which is dry and in need of a drenching.

La Nina typically results in above-average spring rainfall, particularly across eastern, central and northern regions, with an earlier onset of the wet season across the north, the Bureau Of Meteorology (BOM) stated on its website.

“The BOM has forecast La Nina, which should bring extra rain, but until that arrives we are going to have some dry conditions and there’s no room for complacency,” Mr Haig said.

“From a bushfire point of view we would love to see it (La Nina) as soon as possible.

“We may see some storm activity next week, but we can’t count on it until it arrives.”

BOM forecaster Livio Regano said there was little immediate relief in sight for firefighters with storms predicted to arrive on Sunday more likely to start fires than assist firefighters.

“The weekend is going to be dry with a very small chance of a storm on Sunday night and if that fails we will have to wait until the middle of next week for our next opportunity,” he said.

“There’s an outside chance of storms late on Sunday and if we do get storms on Sunday, they’ll be so far apart and isolated, they’re likely to start fires then put them out.”

The BOM has predicted a 20 per cent chance of rain in Brisbane for Sunday and Monday and 30 per cent on Tuesday with a similar forecast for the entire southeast of the state.

Mr Haig said now was the time for homeowners to be fire safety conscious and clean up their properties to make them less vulnerable to fires with the benefit that they will also be able to cope with any sudden downpour.

“Even cleaning their gutters of leaves and twigs, if a storm comes, it means their gutters won’t overflow and cause damage to their house,” he said.

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