Extreme heat increases risk of fire and blackouts



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Extreme temperatures in the Far North can lead to fires and blackouts but the RFS and Ergon energy say risks can be mitigated with planning.

The North Tropical Coast is under a very high fire danger rating today and tomorrow as temperatures reach unusual highs.

Inspector for the Rural Fire Service Cairns Peninsula Area, Peter Ruddick, said the region is at a particularly high risk of bushfire due to the dry conditions.

“What we have is an increased risk of bushfires thanks to dry westerly winds, and as the Bureau tells us, an increase in temperature,” he said.

“We are well and truly into fire season and all of our grasses and forest fuels are already fully cured.

“The temperatures as they expected to be are unusual for this time of year and current weather patterns over the next few days is because we are not getting the cooling sea breezes we normally would; the winds have been heated up inland.”

Ergon Energy have flagged summer is a particularly busy time for the network but crews will be on standby to ensure a consistent supply to the region.

Ergon Area Manager for Herbert, Wayne Alderman, said teams will be monitoring the electricity network closely for any faults or outages.

“The crews work closely with the control room to get the power back on to customers more efficiently while keeping everyone safe,” he said.

“The information they exchange helps to pinpoint the cause of outages and any damage more quickly, so they can repair the network and restore power promptly.

“We appreciate customers’ patience when outages occur in hot weather and reassure them our crews will be out there working to restore power as soon as possible, and safely.” 

To help ensure the power stays on during the hot weather, Ergon suggest customers follow these tips:

• The most efficient temperature to run an air conditioner at is 25 degrees.
• Check you air-con filters are clean. A dirty filter can make the appliance work much harder than it should.
• Use a clothes line instead of a dryer.
• Run the dishwasher outside of the peak demand hours of 4pm to 8pm.
• Consider cooking on a gas BBQ outside instead of an electric stove.

Inspector Ruddick said people should also take precautions to ensure their property is as safe as possible in during high fire danger periods.

“It is pretty much a case where people need to heed the advice they get form the Bureau and from Queensland Ambulance or the State Chief Medical officer,” he said.

“A bit like cyclone season, people are urged to clean around their homes, make sure gutters are clear with no flammable palm fronds.

“At this time of year, most grasses will be brown, fully dry, and dead in a lot of cases, so be mindful of heeding advice from emergency services if required.” 


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