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Queensland bushfires to get 'angry' today as smoke haze reaches Brisbane

Sunday December 2, 2018 - 14:15 EDT
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Smoke haze hits from the fires was visible in Brisbane. - ABC

Residents in bushfire-affected areas of Queensland are being reminded to stay alert, with temperatures in parts of the state set to soar into the mid-40s today, as smoke from the fires reaches Brisbane city.



A watch and act warning has been issued for Karara, south of Leyburn on the Southern Downs, with a bushfire travelling towards the vicinity of the Cunningham Highway and Toowoomba Karara Road.

As more than 100 fires continue to burn around the state, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) warned it could be three or four days before relief arrives, with no significant rain on the horizon in central Queensland.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services deputy commissioner Mike Wassing said crews were prepared for the fires to get "angry" today.

"With the high temperatures, it's going to get dry again this afternoon, or get windy into this afternoon and into tonight," he said.

"The next 24 to 48 hours is going to be pretty tough for our communities and our firefighters."



Easier conditions overnight allowed firefighters to consolidate containment lines in preparation for today, he said.

"Fires of concern that we still have are in central Queensland, a couple also in south-west, south-east — north Stradbroke Island is going to be very visible to anyone on the coast in Gold Coast or south-east," he said.

"It's very exposed winds, and that's certainly going to be a fire for us to watch into this afternoon and into tomorrow."

QFES issued bushfire advice just after midday for the fire burning on north Stradbroke Island, with community meetings to be held during the afternoon.

Additional council machinery is on its way to the Deepwater and Baffle Creek area to start clearing the road network.

Gladstone mayor Matt Burnett said re-entry for residents was planned for tomorrow morning.

Mr Wassing said the area of land burnt since the start of the fire season was the size of Belgium or The Netherlands, with 527,000 hectares destroyed in the last week alone.

"This is now day eight of this current event but many of our people have been at this from a firefighting perspective since the 1st of August, which is pretty much when our significant fire season started in Queensland," he said.

"In fact the area burnt since the fire season started is well over three million hectares and that's the size of some small European countries."


Meanwhile, the BOM is monitoring a low-pressure system in the Coral Sea, which could form into a cyclone late tonight or early tomorrow.



Forecaster Sam Campbell said the low was currently about 1,000 kilometres off Cairns, and was expected to stay "well offshore" and weaken before reaching the coast.

Mr Wassing said morale was still very strong amongst fire crews, despite the "testing" conditions.

A fresh contingent of 75 Victorian firefighters is being sent to Queensland to assist local authorities today.

'We have got to do something about clearing land'

Speaking from the G20 conference in Argentina, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Queensland was still facing a very difficult weather situation and appealed to those affected by the bushfires to continue to be patient.

Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack visited fire-ravaged communities this morning, including Eungella and Finch Hatton.

Mr McCormack said people were exhausted, and the danger was not over.



"Whilst they are contained, they are still burning on some fronts, on many fronts," he said.

"We are still all worried about the weather … the fact is it is quite hot out there at the moment, the winds have potential to whip up at any stage.

"Local people have told us they would have liked to have seen some more backburning done. Let's get through this response phase first … and then we can have those discussions."

The Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said the issue of excess fuel loads would be a key focus when the fires were over.

"It has been a recipe for disaster because we see we have had a couple of major cyclones through in the last couple of seasons and we have got to do something about clearing some of this land so this does not happen again," she said.


- ABC

© ABC 2018

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