THE Rural Fire Service Queensland is on a mission to strengthen its volunteer ranks as the state heads into what could be a severe bushfire season.

A large-scale bushfire that scorched more than 500 hectares at Tara over the weekend has highlighted the dangers still present in the Western Downs region, despite the fact that the official start to the season is still more than a month away.

Fuels that have built up during consecutive wet seasons has now dried out from frosts and is ready to burn, given the right conditions.

Above average temperatures combined with strong westerly winds that came on Sunday helped fan the flames, and it was luc...

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