Smoke haze and high fire danger in Gladstone region

UPDATE 6PM: THE Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) is advising residents in the coastal areas of Central Queensland of a large smoke haze that is affecting the region between Rockhampton and Agnes Water.

QFRS Manager of Rural Operations for Central Region Brian Smith said the haze was caused by lingering smoke from a number of fires burning across the region.

"With high temperatures and a high fire danger forecast, these fires may be burning for a number of days," Mr Smith said.

"Residual smoke will remain in the coastal areas until winds strong enough to blow away the smoke arise." 

Residents should close windows and doors where possible and those with respiratory illness are advised to keep medication close by.

"The smoke haze will also affect driving visibility and we ask all motorists to drive to the conditions and with caution."

Mr Smith said while there is no immediate threat to property, he is asking all residents to remain vigilant.

"It is important residents take extra care as the high temperatures and lower relative humidity can make it very difficult to contain vegetation fires," he said.

"Residents should delay permit burns and must contact their local fire warden or area office before conducting any hazard reduction."

Mr Smith said it was also vital residents working with power tools and machinery took great care.

"Sparks from grinders and other common machinery can easily ignite grassland and a major bushfire can take hold very quickly. Landowners should minimise the risk of a fire starting by taking precautions and having firefighting equipment available to extinguish any fire," he said.

"I also urge residents to finalise preparing their property and visit the Rural Fire Service website to download a bushfire survival plan so that no one is caught off guard," he said.

Residents can tune into warnings by listening to their local radio and logging on to the Rural Fire website at www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au

EARLIER: RESIDENTS in the Gladstone region woke up to find a thick smoke hanging in the air this morning.

Gladstone Fire Station said it was unsure of where the smoke was coming from, as there were no major jobs overnight.

There was a small grassfire near Miriam Vale overnight, but that was under control this morning.

One possible source of the smoke is fires in the Rosedal area, 110km southeast of Gladstone.