Bushfires are being battled in parts of New South Wales and Queensland today, with fierce winds whipping up blazes.
The Sunshine Coast has been blanketed in smoke this morning following efforts to dampen the fires. Channel 7 aired footage of residents spraying blackened trees with garden hoses as the fires came within an ember’s spitting distance of homes in Noosa. Police were close to evacuating residents.
North of Sydney, an emergency warning was issued last night for an out-of-control bushfire close to homes near Newcastle which has subsequently been brought under control.
Scores of fires are being fought along the NSW coast, from the Bega Valley in the south to the Tweed in the north.
These include some smaller fires at the Royal National and Ku-ring-gai national parks around Sydney and a far more substantial fire that has scorched an area of more than 6000 hectares in Rappville in the Richmond Valley.
A large air tanker was brought in with other aircraft and ground crews to slow the spread of the blaze at Belmont in the Lake Macquarie area south of Newcastle yesterday.
“The fire is burning in high fire danger conditions and is currently less than two hours from properties,” the Rural Fire Service said in its official watch and act advice. “Under these conditions, fires can be difficult to control. Embers may be blown ahead of the fire, creating spot fires (which) may threaten your home earlier than the predicted main fire front.”
The RFS in Queensland has warned of two fires around Brisbane. One in Narangba, north of the city, and the other on North Stradbroke Island. A fire on Bribie Island is also causing smoke haze.
The Bribie Island blaze engulfed campsites on Wednesday and yesterday water bombs were deployed from helicopters top douse the remaining flames.
A fire that broke out close to the Noosa Springs Golf Course overnight was brought under control several hours later but the smoke from it is still causing significant haze over the area. Police were near to evacuating residents as the fires neared homes. The RFS has warned if strong winds continue, the fire could again pose a threat.