Bushfire season hits full swing as one town evacuated, six more under threat

Queensland bush fire brigades have been called into action with as many as seven substantial blazes erupting across the state over a frightening weekend.

Sep 18, 2023, updated Sep 18, 2023
The central Queensland town of Emerald was evacuated while authorities fought dangerous bushfires.(AAP  FILE IMAGE Image/Darren England)

The central Queensland town of Emerald was evacuated while authorities fought dangerous bushfires.(AAP FILE IMAGE Image/Darren England)

Residents in a rural town in central Queensland were told they can return to their homes after earlier being told to leave immediately over the risk of a fast-moving bushfire.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services issued the warning to leave to residents of Emerald about 1.15pm on Sunday, saying the warning area covered homes along Selma Rd between Emerald and Fairbairn Dam Rd.

And the Bureau of Meteorology predicts very hot conditions on Thursday — 37 degrees Celsius in Emerald and Ipswich, 36C in Rockhampton, 34C in Brisbane, and 32C in Bundaberg, the Gold and Sunshine coasts and Toowoomba.

“We’ve got about seven locations with high fire danger so we will be keeping a close eye on that,” said a bureau spokesperson.

These locations include the Central Highlands and Coalfields, Central West, Channel Country, Maranoa and Warrego, Darling Downs and Granite Belt, Wide Bay and Burnett and South-east Coast districts.

The QFES updated the warning advice on Sunday evening, telling residents the fire near Fairbairn State Forest was burning in containment lines, and that they could return with caution.

“Watch out for burnt trees, hot embers on the ground and fallen powerlines,” the warning said.

“Some roads could be closed because of fallen trees, branches or powerlines, and some places have no power.”

Firefighting aircraft were used to help crews on the ground contain the fire, which was downgraded to advice level.

People are urged to be careful around damaged infrastructure, and be aware smoke could linger for several days.

QFES Acting Chief Superintendent Stephen de Pinto said crews had worked through the night.

“We’ve noticed the fire activity dying down during the evenings as it gets cooler so we’ll take that opportunity to mop up fire where we can,” Mr de Pinto said.

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Another fire burning near Julago, close to Townsville, further north in the state, had prompted authorities to tell people to be ready to evacuate.

The warning area covers properties on Dawn Street, Sunnyside Street and Coast Road, with a fast-moving fire burning near Sunnyside Street.

The fire is being contained but residents are urged to be prepared if conditions worsen.

There are also warnings in place for a blaze further south at Beerwah on the Sunshine Coast, with a fire in the Glass House Mountains National Park.

No properties are at risk but residents are advised to stay informed.

The NSW RFS spent the day battling a grass fire in the Hunter region.

One house was evacuated at Neath and Cessnock Road was closed as crews brought the fire under control.

Hot conditions are expected in NSW and Queensland for the next few days, with the risk of winds increasing from Monday.


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