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Bushfires burn across Queensland, a reminder for all of us to learn what to do if there is a fire

Jacob Miley, Thomas Morgan and Chris Clarke, November 28, 2018 7:00PM The Courier-Mail

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Waterbombers work to save properties along Arcoona Rd in Yandina Creek as bushfires spread across the Sunshine Coast. Picture: Lachie Millard media_cameraWaterbombers work to save properties along Arcoona Rd in Yandina Creek as bushfires spread across the Sunshine Coast. Picture: Lachie Millard

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It’s time for Australians all across the country to be ready for peak bushfire season as temperatures rise and the land dries out.

Queenslanders have been hit hard early, with 138 bushfires burning across the state on Wednesday.

A heatwave* continued, making it harder for the firefighters to put the fires out or bring them under control.

Thousands of people near the fires left their homes on Tuesday and Wednesday to move to safety.

The communities of Deepwater and surrounds on the Central Queensland coast were told to leave immediately on Tuesday night and Wednesday as the bushfire continued to advance. This was the fire of most concern to firefighters.

A firetruck drives through Deepwater, Queensland, on Monday, November 26. Picture: AAP media_cameraA firetruck drives through Deepwater, Queensland, on Monday, November 26. Picture: AAP

“I know that some people may not want to leave their homes. I know that this is an extremely difficult situation but I need you to please, please, listen to authorities and you must leave immediately,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

A storm front moving from the west of Queensland towards the coast worried weather forecasters and firefighters.

The view from an aeroplane on Tuesday of the bushfire in central Queensland around Deepwater and Baffle Creeks. Picture: AAP media_cameraThe view from an aeroplane on Tuesday of the bushfire in central Queensland around Deepwater and Baffle Creeks. Picture: AAP

“That’s generating thunderstorms and lightning, but not a lot of rain unfortunately. So those dry lightning strikes are a chance to ignite* further fires as it moves towards the coast,” State Manager Queensland at Bureau of Meteorology Bruce Gunn said.

“It’s doing that inland (Tuesday) and closer to the coast (on Wednesday). There’s drier air behind that trough* and that just increases the fire danger along with the instability* creates a very potent* and dangerous situation.”

Andrew Sturgess from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said they were unprecedented* conditions in Queensland.

Crews of firefighters from other states arrived on Tuesday and Wednesday to help Queensland firefighters, who have been battling fires since Friday.

Eight aircraft, including a massive waterbombing plane, which can dump 15,000 litres at a time, are also fighting the fires.

For the first time in Queensland, a large air tanker or “LAT” is being used to fight bushfires. The water bomber can carry more than 15,000 litres of water in a single load. media_cameraFor the first time in Queensland, a large air tanker or “LAT” is being used to fight bushfires. The water bomber can carry more than 15,000 litres of water in a single load.

Fire officials right around Australia were warning of the likelihood of a bad bushfire season as early as September. A hot, dry winter across NSW and parts of other states, plus the prospect of a hot, dry summer ahead has all state fire chiefs warning Australians to prepare now to protect property and stay safe.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services staff Jay Stanton, Peter Orchard, Steve Olver and Brett Holmes were out early in the season handing out bushfire safety pamphlets. media_cameraQueensland Fire and Emergency Services staff Jay Stanton, Peter Orchard, Steve Olver and Brett Holmes were out early in the season handing out bushfire safety pamphlets.

HOW TO STAY FIRE SAFE
To do now:

  • Everyone should have a plan for what to do if there is a fire. Ask the adults in your house to make a fire plan now so you know what to do if there is a fire.
  • Ask your teacher about your school’s fire plan.
  • Fire plans should include a meeting place where everyone goes if there is a fire.
Preschoolers with Fire Safe Kids co-ordinator Pat Richardson, who is teaching them to stop drop and roll. Picture: Wayne Taylor media_cameraPreschoolers with Fire Safe Kids co-ordinator Pat Richardson, who is teaching them to stop drop and roll. Picture: Wayne Taylor

If there is a fire:

  • Get to safety away from the danger.
  • Do not hide.
  • Scream and shout that there is a fire so everyone knows.
  • Get down low and go, go, go — crawl or run low through smoke.
  • If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop and roll to put out the fire.
  • Meet at your family’s or school’s meeting place.
  • Call 000 (triple zero). If you have an adult with you, they should call 000 (triple zero).
  • Follow instructions from adults, including firefighters and police.

Source: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services

EXTRA READING

Rising temperatures in colour

Kids can help keep families safe

Twenty minutes of weather in two minutes

Fighting fires at night via satellite

GLOSSARY

  • heatwave: several days of hot weather in a row
  • ignite: catch fire
  • trough: weather system, usually follows along behind storms
  • instability: unstable situation
  • potent: strong, large, serious
  • unprecedented: has never happened before

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

QUICK QUIZ

  1. What is the heatwave doing?
  2. Which fire was of most concern?
  3. Who is Annastacia Palaszczuk?
  4. Should you hide if there is a fire?
  5. What number should you call if there is a fire?

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Your fire plan
Create posters that will help other students in your school learn about fire plans and what to do if there is a fire at school. Then, think about a good fire plan for your home and write it down to share with your family.

Time: Allow 45 minutes
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and Social Capability

2. Extension
Write a song, jingle, rap or rhyme that will help kids learn and remember the most important things about staying safe in a fire situation.

Time: Allow 20 minutes
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and Social Capability, Music.

VCOP ACTIVITY
With a partner see if you can you identify all the doing words/verbs in this text. Highlight them in yellow and then make a list of them all down your page. Now see if you and your partner can come up with a synonym for the chosen verb. Make sure it still makes sense in the context it was taken from.

Try to replace some of the original verbs with your synonyms and discuss if any are better and why.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Does your family have a fire plan? What are the main ideas on the plan? No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking.

Extra Reading in safe kids