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Lightning strikes cause fire outbreaks

by Josh Bavas, Monday January 14, 2013 - 16:27 EDT
Grant Rolph/Higgins Storm Chasing image
More than a dozen fires are burning across south west Queensland, many of them sparked by lightning. - Grant Rolph/Higgins Storm Chasing

Water bombing and fire spotter aircraft are being used to control a fire burning near Mitchell in Queensland's south west.

The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) says crews are currently battling 26 blazes across the region.

Many of the fires have been sparked by lightning strikes.

Acting Superintendent Col Neal says there is no threat to any structures at this stage but the operation to extinguish the fires could take a while.

"Currently got 26 fires on our books and we've got ground crews and property owners monitoring," he said.

"The majority of those fires are contained and no real threat, but we'll be monitoring those - it'll be over quite a few days."

Meanwhile, fire has destroyed an indigenous-owned homestead on a remote property.

Crews were called to Bendee Downs, 100 kilometres east of Cunnamulla about 5:00pm (AEST) yesterday afternoon.

When they arrived the house was well alight and they were unable to save the building.

Bendee Downs is run by the Kooma Traditional Owners Association.

Large firs are also burning at Jimboomba south of Brisbane, and at Tin Can Bay on the Sunshine Coast.

Meanwhile a man suffered stomach injuries in a fall while helping his neighbour with back-burning on a central Queensland property yesterday.

The accident happened on a property at Miriam Vale and the man was flown to the Rockhampton Hospital.

There were also three house fires in Rockhampton yesterday.

Three officers fighting a blaze that destroyed a house in Depot Hill were treated for heat exhaustion, while four people were treated for smoke inhalation at another fire in Denison Street.

The weather bureau says conditions will improve for firefighters with the heatwave in Queensland coming to an end.

Inland parts of the state have been experiencing temperatures in excess of 40 degrees for nearly a week.

Forecaster Brian Rolstone says storms are likely to accompany a change to more favourable conditions.

"So [there'll be] a change in the winds and a dropping of temperatures," he said.

"But also there are expected to be some thunderstorms and showers near this change inland - and this focus will develop even more tomorrow."

Mr Rolstone says the cooler temperatures will spread further inland over the next few days reducing the fire hazard in the state's interior.

"So yes, it is a welcomed change and we'll get a few days of this."


© ABC 2013

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