By Peter Foley, of the Queensland Times
Continuing dry, windy conditions meant landowners had to be vigilant over the next few months, a rural fire service leader warned yesterday.
It is a warning that is being repeated all over Queensland with large areas of the State being declared a high fire risk.
Ipswich fire crews were kept busy with a grass fire yesterday and mopping up after Wednesday's fire at Minden.
Ipswich district inspector Kaye Healing said dangerous fire conditions would remain for some months and it was never too late for people to prepare.
"Because of the predominant weather pattern and abundance of fuel, we're looking at a reasonably serious bushfire season," Ms Healing said.
"It's going to be a bit of a long haul for everybody and there won't be any relief until the spring storms, if they come.
"But people can still clear up their property and make things easier for us in case there is a fire."
Property owners should assess their fire risk and then take appropriate action in consultation with their local fire services, Ms Healing said.
She said late summer rain followed by prolonged drought and winter frosts had led to an abundance of dry grass to fuel fires around Ipswich.
Rural and urban fire crews fought a grassfire on the Minden Range on Wednesday and rural crews returned yesterday to monitor the fire.
Minden Rural Fire Brigade first officer John Murphy said last night the fire jumped fire breaks in six places on Wednesday before crews controlled it.
Mr Murphy, who said crews would return today hoping to extinguish the fire, believed fire conditions were the worst he had seen.
While the Minden fire threat was diminishing, another grassfire emergency was unfolding beside the Cunningham Highway near Purga.
Ms Healing said open paddocks around Middle Road caught fire yesterday and at on stage a house was threatened before fire crews could control it.
Mr Murphy has learned never to be surprised by fire but even he was shocked by the blaze that raced through the Minden Range on Wednesday.
The Minden Rural Fire Brigade first officer said one of his crews was first to arrive and the blaze quickly took hold.
"From a small fire at the side of the road to out of control took about 15 minutes. It's the fastest-moving fire I've seen," Mr Murphy said.
"We had 20 to 30 foot high flame heights."
He said the first priority was protecting homes on the range, most belonging to close friends he had made in 40 years at Minden.
"The flames actually went under one house but the boys just get in there and do the job," he said.
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