FIRE APPROACHES: The view from Maryvale as fire heads down into the valleys.
FIRE APPROACHES: The view from Maryvale as fire heads down into the valleys.

Shelter for fire-affected ready at “moment's notice”

COUNCIL is prepared for quick evacuation if conditions worsen at Swanfels, according to Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie.

The Swanfels fire, which has burned for well over a month, flared up today as it headed southwest towards Freestone, Yangan and Swanfels.

"We are ready to evacuate on a moment's notice," Cr Dobie said.

"Once the 'prepare to leave' notice upgrades to 'leave now' we will assist residents with accommodation.

"It can all be set up in a few moments as we proved during the September fires."

Whether an evacuation centre is opened depends on the number of residents who need to leave their homes.

"When you're looking at a large amount of people, like we did in Stanthorpe, we set up evacuation centres," Cr Dobie said.

"But if there's only a few people we encourage residents to shelter with friends or family."

QFES public information officer Matthew Mulroney advises those in affected areas to call friends and family to arrange alternative accommodation ahead of time.

"Go stay at a friend's place, that's more comfortable," Mr Mulroney said.

"I've worked in evacuation centres and they're really not the nicest places. They're usually hot and stressful.

"Go somewhere you can relax with a cup of tea and a beer with dinner."

In the meantime, Cr Dobie encourages residents to consider the volatile weather conditions today.

"Please do not light fires or partake in any activity that sparks fire because conditions are so tinder dry," she said.

"And there's a lot of smoke in our region at the moment, so residents who don't need to go outside should remain indoors and those with pre-existing respiratory conditions should be prepared to seek medical support."

SDRC is working closely with the QFES to monitor the situation.

"We provide equipment to support the firefighters," Cr Dobie said.

"And we make water and road closures available if they request it."