Queensland fire: Police doing final sweep urging evacuations

Queensland firefighters, NSW Rural Firefighters and volunteers are bracing for extreme weather that will continue to wreak havoc across fire ravaged communities today.

The Deepwater blaze is still a major concern for firefighters with residents in Baffle Creek, Oyster Creek and Rules Beach areas advised they have about an hour to evacuate or risk becoming trapped.

“We do have a dangerously evolving situation up at Rules Beach at the moment,” QFES Commissioner Katarina Carroll said this morning.

She warned if the fire breaks the containment lines, the window to leave will drastically decrease.

Authorities are concerned about residents who aren’t evacuating with some staying at home despite 16 warnings being issued since Sunday.

“We are still finding instances where people have not left the Rules Beach area,” Comm. Carroll said.

“Please take action and leave immediately.”

Deputy Police Commissioner Bob Gee said officers were doing a final sweep of the area, but after that residents would be on their own.

“If you have children with you, you need to think really hard about not losing a house, but losing the people you care most about,” Mr Gee said.

“People will burn to death. Their normal approaches probably won’t work if this situation develops the way it is predicted to develop. It is no different to a Category 5 cyclone coming through your door.”

There are concerns that strong winds will spread the already out-of-control fires kilometres out of containment lines putting further properties at risk.

“There are very strong winds above the surface that will deposit that burning material well ahead of the fire, well beyond containment lines and ahead of where firefighters are,” QFES fire analyst Inspector Andrew Sturgess said.

Crews from New South Wales arrived yesterday to help fatigued local crews fight the inferno that’s destroyed homes and burnt through at least 20,000 hectares of bush and farmland since Saturday.

Eight aircraft, including a massive water-bombing plane, which can dump 15,000 litres at a time, are also fighting the fire.

A ‘Leave Now’ warning has also been issued further north in central Queensland, for residents in Dalrymple Heights after nearby Finch Hatton was evacuated yesterday.

The fire, which is moving in a southwesterly direction, has closed in on Dalrymple Road, near Snake Road and Chelmans Road. Firefighters were working to protect properties.

Residents were advised to leave eastwards via Mackay Eungella Road. Heavy smoke has reduced visibility and conditions are dangerous, the QFES said.

An evacuation centre has been set up at the Marian Town Hall.

The dangerous conditions are expected to peak today with an estimated 80 fires burning across the state.

To make matters worse, a large dust storm is making its way across Queensland’s south-west this morning.

“Part of me didn’t want to evacuate in the first place,” Ken Chynoweth-Tidy told 9News.

“Part of me wanted to stay and defend my property, but that’s stupid as well, you can’t put your life at risk. Property can be replaced, lives can’t.”

Temperatures in central Queensland are expected to soar over 40 degrees while winds will likely gust at around 40km/h.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Commissioner Katarina Carroll said there was no respite in sight.

“The climate, the heat and the fire is horrendous,” she said.

“There are 80 fires burning across the state and I expect that to dramatically increase in the coming days.”

Electrical storms have been forecast across the region and emergency services fear dry lightning strikes could spark more blazes.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has urged people near fires to follow orders, get out and stay out until the situation is safe.

The official number of properties destroyed by the Queensland fires remains at two but this number will almost certainly rise.

Article by 9news Staff – Source Link