Australia Weather News

Hot, dry and windy weather will increase the fire danger in Queensland. - ABC

Despite rain falling across parts of the state overnight, blazes flaring at Narangba and Woodgate this afternoon have reminded Queenslanders of this summer's elevated fire danger.

The fires came as the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) warned of a return of hot, dry weather and a severe fire danger this week, with temperatures are expected to climb above 40 degrees Celsius in southern parts of Queensland.

A watch and act warning to "leave now" was issued shortly before 3:00pm before being downgraded at 5:00pm, with residents at Narangba, north of Brisbane, told to stay informed.

Narangba resident Aaron Goodchild said the fire started on his property when a fuse on an Energex power pole exploded.

His 10-year-old son called him at 1:40pm to say the garden was on fire.

"I didn't believe him and said put me on FaceTime [video phone call] and I saw all this on fire," Mr Goodchild said.

He said crews of firefighters arrived within minutes.

Mr Goodchild said if it was not for them the whole valley would have gone up in flames.

"They are amazing. What an amazing country we live in," he said.

Incident controller Tony Shaw of the Rural Fire Service said the Narangba fire was now under control but it had threatened three properties.

He said crews managed to get on top of it and were now confident they had enough resources to keep it under control.

A fire in Woodgate, near Bundaberg, was also upgraded to watch and act level for about two hours before being downgraded again this afternoon.

Authorities said the fire was "unusual and suspicious".

'Firefighters up against it'

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster David Crock said the weather conditions forecast for summer would be testing for firefighters.

"Anywhere in the south-east it feels a bit like an oven. It's very hot and very dry winds. It's a bit more like the heat you see in southern Australia," Mr Crock said.

Unrelenting high overnight temperatures in north Queensland are also set to trigger the bureau's "heatwave" warning there, but the south will be spared, with temperatures expected to cool during the night.

Five regions of southern Queensland have reached a "severe fire danger" rating already, with extreme conditions possible in areas such as the Lockyer Valley.

"That combination of hot, dry and windy weather is the worst fire weather that we see," Mr Crock said.

"It's another repeat of the typical fire weather pattern that we've seen four of five times now over the fire season starting way back in September and happening really every month since then.

"The firefighters are certainly up against it today in terms of fire weather.

"Over the next few days the winds do drop off a little bit, so the fire dangers aren't quite as bad in that sense, but it is still very hot and very dry.

"So fire dangers will remain generally very high, locally severe, for the next several days in southern Queensland, with those dry and very hot conditions."

Wind increases fire danger

While the windy conditions in southern Queensland are contributing to fire danger, stagnant hot air in the north of the state is making for heatwave conditions there.

"It won't be quite as hot as the heatwave we saw late last year, where Cairns saw temperatures well over 40 degrees for three or four days in a row, but still hot enough through the day and the night to trigger our heatwave sort-of threshold," Mr Crock said.

"So that hot air mass will linger, over really most of Queensland for the next few days, initially in the tropics and then moving gradually down the coast.

"Centres along the east tropical coast will see temperatures very much in the high 30's today and for the next several days. That includes, Cooktown, Cairns, Townsville — all the way down to Rockhampton and Mackay as well."

As for the outlook for summer, Mr Crock said it was hard to predict when the state would get relief from drenching rain.

"The climate outlook for summer suggests temperatures will very likely be above average, which is what we're seeing pretty much every month these days," he said.

He said the summer was expected to be hotter than average but that has been the case every year for about a decade.

ABC