Frightening combination of factors puts fireys on edge
A COMBINATION of high temperatures, strong westerly winds and low humidity have created ideal conditions for fire to take hold quickly and there could be worse to come later in the week.
Temperatures along the beach were remaining stubbornly above 35C into the afternoon at Sunshine Coast Airport as fire fighters step up their readiness in the face of the potential threat.
Area Director for Caloundra QFES Rural Fire Services Inspector Matt Inwood said the Caloundra Incident Control Centre was on a lean-forward state of preparedness with rapid-response strike teams in place across the region.
The situation was mirrored across the greater south east region of the state with the Maryborough Regional Operations Centre fully staffed and Incident Control Centres also set up at Bundaberg and Gympie.
Commander Bernie Massingham said units were operating at Bushfire Alert Level Four on a scale of five.
Fire fighting aircraft were also in place to support a rapid strike team of five urban trucks.
At 2.30pm the temperature at Sunshine Coast Airport was still 35.2C with the dew point dropping to 2.6C, relative humidity to 13 per cent and with winds still gusting to 39 kmh after reaching 61 kmh earlier in the day.
The lower the dew point, the drier the air while the lower the relative humidity the less moisture in the atmosphere.
In Beerburrum while the temperature had fallen to 34.7C, the dew point was down to 1.1C and the relative humidity to 12 per cent. Winds were calmer but still gusted to 37 kmh.
Simon McDermott, the managing director of McDermott Aviation, said the company's fire fighting wing had a total of eight aircraft on stand by for HP Plantations and the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service.
Fire danger conditions were expected to ease from a Severe to a Very High rating on Tuesday and Wednesday but would potentially again be Severe on Thursday.
The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast no likelihood of rain before Saturday and then it was rated at best as a 40 per cent chance.
Falls Sunday afternoon into early Monday morning despite reaching 18mm in places, have done nothing to ease the fire threat.