Australia — Firefighters are hoping a wind change tonight will help contain many of the fires burning across Queensland.
At 3pm, 54 bushfires were burning across the state, down from a peak of 70 on Wednesday.
Peter Varley from Queensland Fire and Rescue Service says relief could be on the way for first time in days. Advertisement
Tomorrow might be better, he said.
Extreme and severe fire weather warnings which covered two thirds of Queensland on Wednesday are now only in place in the states northwest corner.
Were looking at the wind changing around to the east which is great because anything coming from the west causes major issues, which weve had for the last few days Mr Varley said.
The major concern continues to be a large bushfire at Halliford, near Dalby on the western Darling Downs.
At the moment there are four water bombing aircraft and nine fire crews working on that one, he said.
We have 17 people who have self-evacuated their homes … Im hoping with a wind change overnight and the fact that we might have some moisture in the air they might be okay to come home tomorrow.
Mr Varley said if a wind change arrived on Thursday evening and the air moisture increased it would help crews get the upper hand on the burn.I think theyll be able to do some good work.
They got it in containment lines earlier on today and theyve been working to keep it there, so I think theyll have a win with that tomorrow.
Seven homes have been evacuated and ten fire crews and water-bombers are working to contain a bushfire that broke out in the Kumbarilla State Forest this morning in the Darling Downs.
The blaze is expected to travel north and threaten properties around Halliford Road, Lake Broadwater Road, Schulz Road and the Moonie Highway near Dalby within the next six hours.
The fire is one of 54 burning across the state as hot and dry conditions sparked a busy period for firefighters.
Seven houses have been evacuated and 10 more are on standby as locals in the area affected near Dalby are urged to enact their bushfire action plans.
Queensland Fire and Rescue Service rural operations director Peter Varley said the dry and hot conditions across Queensland were the “worst” they could be when it came to controlling fires.
“The temperatures may be a little bit lower across the state but that dry air is our biggest problem, there’s no humidity in the air,” he told 612 ABC Brisbane.
“The wind is picking up a little bit as well, between 35 to 45 kilometres an hour in some parts of the state.
“Those sort of conditions are the worst for us, there’s really not been much of a respite for us over the past few days.”
Most fires are concentrated around the coastline though the most dangerous fires are burning in the west.
No burn-offs have been planned by firefighters anywhere in the state and though there is not a fire ban in place most fire permits have been cancelled.
“The problem we have in these sort of conditions is fires getting started, people need to be extremely cautious around ignition sources, the big one is throwing cigarettes butts out of the cars which we see everyday,” he said.
“It is just so dry those sort of things can start a fire easily.”
The combination of hot and windy conditions is spreading the fire fast and the QFRS fears some properties may be lost.
A QFRS spokesman said although well prepared and defended homes can offer safety, residents who have not prepared should leave the area.
Firefighters will not be able to protect every affected property and residents should not expect a firefighter at their door, he said.
Meanwhile, two grass fire that broke out in Monduran and Waterloo, both near Bundaberg have been contained with the QFRS saying they do not threaten property at this time.
Another grass fire that broke out in Kalpowar, northeast of Monto, yesterday has also been contained and is being monitored by local fire crews. The failure was in the forest areas.Advertisement
Following a 10-year strategy, ACT fire managers have created a mosaic across the landscape of different fuel levels, burning at every opportunity.
But forests have been too wet to burn this spring and the past two summers.
A network of 500 fire trails and strategic burns along the north-west urban edge, heavy grazing and extra grass slashing will create a fortress for the territory which forecasters say faces a higher than average risk this summer.
After a fire-fuelled tornado in January 2003 killed four Canberrans and frightened thousands more, CSIRO fire expert Phil Cheney told the subsequent inquiry the fire’s penetration into urban areas under extreme conditions did not reflect a failure of fuel management on the urban interface.