Emergency workers tend to fallen trees in a fire zone.
Emergency workers tend to fallen trees in a fire zone.

Sunday Fires: Heatwave piling pressure on firefighters

EMERGENCY services have issued an emergency alert for North Stradbroke Island and told residents in two communities to leave immediately as bushfires intensify and temperatures soar past 40C in parts of the state.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services have told residents in the central Queensland locality of Lowmead to leave now, with a bushfire predicted to have a significant impact on the community.

At 3.40pm, the bushfire was travelling in a southerly direction towards Lowmead. It is impacting Clarkes Rd and Mackellor Rd.

READ MORE >>UPDATE: Winfield residents told to leave now

READ MORE >>BREAKING: Lowmead residents told leave now

Residents at nearby Winfield have also been told to leave immediately because it would soon be too dangerous to drive.

At 3.30pm an unpredictable fire was burning south of Coast Rd, travelling south to Baffle Creek. If flying embers from the fire crosses Baffle Creek, it will impact the area between Ferry Rd and Winfield.

Queenslanders have are sweltered today with the mercury nudging past 40C in parts of the state by mid-morning.

Winton recorded 40.9C by 9.47am and jumped to 42.5C by 11am.

Most towns in the northwest had also reached 40C by 11am with Lake Julius sitting at 42.4C at 11.16am.

Longreach was not far behind with 41C and Windorah in the Channel Country reached 40.7C.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • There is a complete fire ban for south-east Queensland residents
  • There is a complete fire ban for central Queensland residents
  • There is a complete fire ban for Bundaberg and Sunshine Coast

Almost 110 fires continue to burn around Queensland, with conditions expected to worsen with today's extreme heat and strong winds - as well as a risk of dry lightning strikes.

An emergency alert has been issued with residents in North Stradbroke Island and Karara warned to prepare to leave, as bushfires intensify.

The weather bureau is also monitoring a low-pressure system in the northern Coral Sea, which it says has a more than 50 per cent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone today.

FIRE WARNINGS AND ALERTS

>>PREPARE TO LEAVE: Karara residents on notice 

>>UPDATE: Winfield residents told to leave now

>>BREAKING: Lowmead residents told leave now

 

  • PREPARE TO LEAVE: Karara (south of Leyburn): Sunday, 2 December 2018 4:00 PM. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire in Karara and conditions could get worse. Read More >>
  • LEAVE NOW: Lowmead: Sunday, 2 December 2018 3:40 PM. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire in Lowmead and conditions are getting worse. Read More >>
  • LEAVE IMMEDIATELY: Winfield: Sunday, 2 December 2018 3:30 PM. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire approaching Winfield. Leaving immediately is the safest option, as it will soon be too dangerous to drive. Read More >>
  • Takura (near Hervey Bay): Sunday, 2 December 2018 3:10 PM. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire in Takura. Read More >>
  • PREPARE TO LEAVE Carmila: Sunday, 2 December 2018 3:05 PM. The previous bushfire warning has changed. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire in Carmila and conditions could get worse. Read More >>
  • Lowmead (west of Baffle Creek): Sunday, 2 December 2018 2:20 PM Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) crews are on scene at a bushfire burning near Clarkes Road and Mackellor Road in Lowmead.  Read More >>
  • PREPARE TO LEAVE: Winfield (result of Deepwater fire): Sunday, 2 December 2018 2:05 PM The previous bushfire warning has changed. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire in the Deepwater/Baffle Creek area and conditions could get worse. Read More >>
  • Tinnanbar: Sunday, 2 December 2018 1:30 PM. The previous bushfire warning has changed. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire in Tinnanbar. Part of the fire has breached containment lines near Hedleys Landing Road and is travelling in a southerly direction towards Hedleys Camp. 
  • North Stradbroke Island: Sunday, 2 December 2018 1:30 PM. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire on North Stradbroke Island. Read More >>
  • Abergowrie State Forest (north of Ingham: Sunday, 2 December 2018 1:30 PM Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) crews are monitoring a bushfire burning in the Abergowrie State Forest. Read More >>
  • Oyster Creek: Sunday, 2 December 2018 12:45 PM. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire in Oyster Creek. Read More >>
  • PREPARE TO LEAVE: Karara (south of Leyburn): Sunday, 2 December 2018 12:40 PM. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire in Karara and conditions could get worse. Read More >>
  • EMERGENCY alert for North Stradbroke Island: Sunday, 2 December 2018 12:00 PM Queensland Fire and Emergency Services has issued bushfire advice through the Emergency Alert system  for a significant fire occurring on North Stradbroke Island.  Read More >>
  • Arcadia Valley (Expedition National Park): Sunday, 2 December 2018 11:35 AM Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) crews are on scene monitoring multiple fires in the vicinity of Expedition National Park. The fires are currently burning in inaccessible areas and there's no threat to property at this time.  Read More >>
  • Rungool: Sunday, 2 December 2018 11:30 AM. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a vegetation fire in Rungoo. Read More >>
  • Karara (south of Leyburn): Sunday, 2 December 2018 11:25 AM. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire in inaccessible land at Karara. Read More >>
  • Mount Fox: Sunday, 2 December 2018 11:00 AM. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire in Mount Fox. Crews and landholders are constructing firebreaks in the area and backburning when weather conditions permit. Read More >>
  • Mutamee (north-west of Townsville): Sunday, 2 December 2018 11:00 AM . ** Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) crews are no longer required on scene at this incident. ** Read More >>
  • Cooloola (near Rainbow Beach): Sunday, 2 December 2018 10:50 AM Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) crews are on scene to monitor a bushfire burning near the Freshwater campground, in the vicinity of Kings Bore Road and the Western Break.  Read More >>
  • Mutchilba (near Atherton): Sunday, 2 December 2018 10:40 AM Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) crews are on scene at a bushfire between Mutchilba Road and Collins Weir Road, Mutchilba. Read More >>
  • Edmonton (south of Cairns): Sunday, 2 December 2018 10:30 AM. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire in Edmonton. Read More >>
  • Maryborough: Sunday, 2 December 2018 10:25 AM Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) crews continue to monitor a vegetation fire burning near Bryant Street, Maryborough. Read More >>
  • Damper Creek (near Cardwell): Sunday, 2 December 2018 10:20 AM Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) is aware of a bushfire burning in inaccessible country near Five Mile Creek Road at Damper Creek.  Read More >>
  • Takura (near Hervey Bay): Sunday, 2 December 2018 10:15 AM Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) crews remain on scene to monitor a vegetation fire burning near Toogoom Cane Road, Takura.  Read More >>
  • Ellerback (near Cardwell): Sunday, 2 December 2018 10:10 AM Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) crews are monitoring a bushfire near Ellerbeck Road, Attie Creek Road and Elphinstone Range.  Read More >>
  • Tinnanbar: Sunday, 2 December 2018 10:10 AM Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) crews remain on scene to monitor a bushfire burning on the eastern side of Tinnanbar Road, Tinnanbar.  Read More >>
  • North Stradbroke Island: Sunday, 2 December 2018 9:50 AM. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire on North Stradbroke Island. Read More >>
  • Peachester (near Sunshine Coast): Sunday, 2 December 2018 9:40 AM **Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) crews are no longer required on scene at this incident.** Read More >>
  • Meridan Plains: Sunday, 2 December 2018 9:40 AM **Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) crews are no longer required on scene at this incident.** Read More >>
  • STAY INFORMED: Deepwater, Baffle Creek, Rules Beach: Sunday, 2 December 2018 9:40 AM. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire in Deepwater, Baffle Creek and Rules Beach. DO NOT RETURN if you have evacuated, as conditions are too dangerous. Roads may be blocked by fallen debris and road conditions remain extremely dangerous. Police are patrolling the area to ensure no one returns. Read More >>
  • STAY INFORMED: Captain Creek: Sunday, 2 December 2018 9:30 AM. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire in Captain Creek. Read More >>
  • STAY INFORMED: Undullah: Sunday, 2 December 2018 9:15 AM. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire in Undullah. Read More >>
  • WIEAMBILLA: The previous bushfire warning has changed. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) crews remain on scene at a bushfire burning near Robbos Road, Mary Road, Wains Road and Chinchilla Tara Road, Wieambilla. Firefighters have contained the fire and will continue to monitor the area. Smoke is affecting the area, so residents should close windows and doors, and keep respiratory medications close by if required. Motorists should drive with caution and to conditions. If residents feel their property is under threat, they should call Triple Zero (000) immediately.
  • FINCH HATTON: There is a bushfire in Finch Hatton and Kowari Gorge. You need to keep up to date and decide what actions you will take if the situation changes. Currently as at 5am Sunday 2 December, a bushfire is travelling from the Pioneer Valley in a west, south west direction towards the top of the Clarke Range. Fire crews will continue to work throughout the day to contain the fire. 
  • CARMILA: there is a bushfire in Carmila. You need to keep up to date and decide what actions you will take if the situation changes. Currently as at 5.05am Sunday 2 December, a bushfire is burning near Carmila West Road, travelling in a south-easterly direction towards Barbours Road and Leichardt Creek Road. Carmila West Road, Ilbilbie Road, Gibberland Road, Tierawoomba Road and surrounds will be affected by smoke, which will reduce visibility and air quality. Fire crews remain working in the area and water bombing operations will continue throughout the day.

***NOT SURE? Check the QFES website for warnings in your area

 

In the southeast, Brisbane was 33.5C by 11am, Gold Coast had reached 32C and the Sunshine Coast was 34C.

Residents in the Moreton Bay Regional Council, Brisbane City Council and Redlands City Council areas are part of a local fire ban which will remain in place until midnight Wednesday December 5.

Residents around Ipswich, Gold Coast and Logan are being warned of smoke around the area today as fires continue to burn at North Stradbroke Island and Undullah

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services has urged residents to keep windows and doors closed if affected by smoke and motorists are being urged to drive with caution around these areas as smoke may affect visibility.

The weather bureau is also monitoring a low-pressure system in the northern Coral Sea, which it says has a more than 50 per cent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone today.

The low was located about 1030km east northeast of Cairns as of 4am this morning.

The low is currently moving south at 9km/hr and is likely to develop into a tropical cyclone.

BoM said the system was forecast to track west later this week, but posed no immediate threat to the Queensland coast and "should remain well off the coast until it weakens later in the week".

"It's a very uncertain situation and impacts on the Queensland coast are hard to predict at this stage," state manager Bruce Gunn said.

George Bird is the first fatality from Queensland’s bushfires.
George Bird is the first fatality from Queensland’s bushfires.

The heatwave warning came as the state suffered its first bushfire-related fatality.

A 21-year-old man died in Rolleston in the Central Highlands, about 150km south of Emerald on Friday night.

The young man, who was named last night by Channel 7 as George Bird, was using a chainsaw on his family property to clear a fire break when a tree fell on him, trapping him.

A reprieve in conditions early yesterday compared to previous days allowed firefighters to establish new containment lines and mop up around fires burning across the state.

However Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Deputy Commissioner Mike Wassing said despite the slight improvement in conditions, there were still above average temperatures and increased fire danger.

 

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Authorities said 400 vehicles remained on the ground supported by 20 aircraft, with 410 helpers from interstate tirelessly working beside the local firefighters.

QFES last night reinstated a fire ban for the Ipswich, Somerset, Lockyer, Logan, Scenic Rim and Gold Coast local government areas for today.

The two Central Queensland fires burning in Deepwater and Eungella are still of serious concern, with residents being told to watch and act.

"They are still the two main fires in central Queensland for us," Mr Wassing said.

"This is in terms of both the size and intensity of fire behaviour we are getting and the fact that they continue to impact on small communities in and around that fire."

A fire on north Stradbroke Island is also of concern due to the terrain, although there is no threat to properties.

 

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Mr Wassing said a fire at Carnarvon Gorge had authorities on high alert, especially due to the looming threat of dry storms in the region today.

"We are seeing very severe fire weather in the southwest combined with dry storms. That's obviously a concern for us where there is then the risk of new fires starting," he said.

Speaking from Finch Hatton, west of Mackay, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk warned Queenslanders to be on high alert today.

"We still have over 100 fires throughout our state and I'd like to make a big plea to all Queenslanders (for) tomorrow," she said.

"We are going to be facing again an unprecedented heatwave and it's going to impact right across our state."

A fire rages near Rangfed Rd at Eungella. Picture: RACQ CQ Rescue
A fire rages near Rangfed Rd at Eungella. Picture: RACQ CQ Rescue

Four homes have been confirmed destroyed in the Deepwater region, although many have been saved due to the efforts of fire crews.

Many sheds and vehicles have also been destroyed.

The weather bureau was last night indicating no reprieve or return to normal conditions until possibly Wednesday, Mr Wassing said.

The state's chief health officer yesterday urged Queenslanders to stay inside and keep cool as today reached record-breaking temperatures.

Doctor Sonya Bennett warned people died during heatwaves.

She said the heatwave should not be ignored and stressed it was important for people to stay cool and hydrated - and make sure others were doing the same.

"I think we in Queensland think we're used it, that it's always hot," she said.

"But this is unusual weather. It's very, very hot and records are being broken.

"Heat does kill people."

Dr Bennett said the elderly, babies, breastfeeding mothers, people with chronic illnesses, those who were overweight or obese and people taking certain types of medication, such as fluid tablets, were particularly at risk during extreme hot weather.

She said heavy sweating, dark urine and feeling nauseated, dizzy or light-headed were all signs of dehydration.

Mr Gunn said many November temperature records had been broken and hot conditions were set to continue throughout the week.

"(Today) is another day of vigilance required," he said.

"We are expecting an increase in the fire danger for especially the southeastern quarter of the state going to severe fire danger levels and that includes Central Highlands and Coalfields, Darling Downs and Granite Belt, Maranoa and Warrego and inland parts of the southeast coast and Wide Bay area.

"This is due to a trough system … the increased wind conditions combined with the heat and already dry fuel state means conditions are back into the severe level."


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