My other blog is the website for the Helidon Hills Smokespotters, an informal community group with members located at over 20 locations around the Helidon Hills in the Lockyer Valley. You can find out about the Smokespotter group here. The group’s motto is: when it comes to bushfires, we are all neighbours. Though the group focuses on the Helidon Hills, their website has regular posts on bushfire issues that are more widely relevant throughout the Lockyer Valley Region and beyond.
I’ve copied the links on the Smokespotters website onto this page for more general access.
The links below mostly take you to Queensland-wide or South East Queensland web sites, so they are not restricted to the Lockyer Valley Region
Before you burn, check the Fire Danger Ratings, current weather conditions in your area, and weather forecasts for the remainder of the day and into the next day.
Fire Danger Ratings
For a Southeast Queensland Fire Danger Rating that is updated throughout the day, click here and see Southeast Coast on the last row in the table, but be aware that this is a regional forecast and the fire danger in the Lockyer would well be different and often higher than the regional average.
For a four-day Fire Danger Rating for all regions in Queensland, including Southeast Coast click here. Be aware that the current day’s Rating is updated at 7am and 4.30pm; it does not appear to be updated if the rating changes during the day. But useful for looking ahead at fire danger ratings in coming days. Similar warnings about this being a regional forecast apply.
See what the Fire Danger Ratings mean here.
Today’s Gatton Weather Forecast (weather.com)
Current Gatton Weather Conditions (Temperature, Dew Point, Relative Humidity, Wind Speed, Highest Wind Gusts, Wind Direction, Rain Since 9.00am, from weather.com)
Gatton Weather Forecast and Current Conditions (Forecast: Temperature and likelihood of Rain at different periods in the day, Current: Relative Humidity, Wind Speed, Highest Gusts, Wind Direction, Rain Since 9.00am, from Bureau of Meteorology)
Southeast Coast Weather Forecast and Fire Danger Rating for the region
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Hi, I’ve just read your ‘Smokespotters’ community blog, and I think it’s such a great system to monitor fires in your area! It’s a great system that I think all rural communities in Australia could benefit from greatly. I write a bushfire awareness blog, and I would like to mention your group in one of my posts – would that be ok? Also, do you know any other communities that use a similar system?
Find the blog here if you want a further look: http://bushfiresafe.wordpress.com/
Wonderful to hear from you, and great that you are running such a blog. It’s a great initiative. We need to do everything possible to prevent destructive wildfires and to promote fire-ready property management.
I don’t know of any other “smokespotter” groups. I regularly do a google search hoping to find a group that is similar to ours, because it would be great to be able to share ideas and lessons, but so far I haven’t found one. I find this quite surprising, but I guess that with new technology like satellite fire recognition and such people might feel that there isn’t much they can contribute. However in large (or even moderately large) areas of forest without good roads or sufficient population density, fires can reach a considerable size before they are reported and fire crews can get to them. Our group has definitely made a big difference to the work of bushfire brigades because they often get to fires while they are still controllable. I also have a feeling that there are far fewer out-of-control fires in our patch because many people now know that there is a smokespotters group. It seems likely that one persistent arsonist has been “warned off” as a result of our activities.
Keep up the good work.
Another reply, Firesafe. Your comment and blog inspired me to copy the Fire Danger Ratings and weather info across to this blog so the information is now available on both sites.
Have you thought about putting links to this kind of information (at least on a State-basis) onto your blog?
Sorry for the late reply, I wasn’t notified of your response!
That’s a great idea – I’m not sure why I hadn’t thought of that earlier! I will definitely get the fire danger system up on there ASAP, it’s so important everyone (particularly visitors) understands the fire danger system as it could literally be the difference between life and death. Perhaps it is ignorant of me to think most people understand the dangers of bushfires, but you just never know these days!
Also, I posted a response to your comment on my blog, but I don’t think you’ve seen it. I noticed you posted a reference to the CSIRO article on your smokespotters blog. I think you’ll be very interested in looking at this one I found from the CFA –
Click to access landscaping_for_bushfire.pdf
It’s actually what I based my most recent post on, as I think it has some absolutely must know information in it. I’m planning on writing a second part as the information has proved very useful to my family as we rebuild our home on the South Coast of NSW.
Keep up the great work!
Thanks for the fire landscaping link. I’ll put it up on the Smokespotters blog as soon as I get a chance. I also picked up a list of fire resistant plants for the Helidon Hills at a vegetation walk on Saturday, which I will find a way to distribute.
I hadn’t realised you replied to my comment on your blog, but I’ll have a look there as soon as I finish here. Thanks.