Residents of a rural central Queensland town have been told to ‘leave immediately’ as a fast moving bushfire makes its way towards people and houses, putting ‘lives at risk’.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services issued the warning to residents of Emerald at around 1.15pm on Sunday, saying the warning area covered homes along Selma Road between Emerald and Fairbairn Dam Road.
There is a second fire burning in the Glass House Mountains National Park near Beerwah on the Sunshine Coast.
Firefighters are also battling a blaze in NSW, north of Cessnock Road at Neath, 4km from the town of Cessnock in the Hunter Valley.
The warning area for the central Queensland fire also included the Fairbairn State Forest and residents had to leave immediately, the service said.
Firefighters are battling a blaze (pictured) in NSW, north of Cessnock Road at Neath, 4km from the town of Cessnock in the Hunter Valley
The Neath fire is pictured encroaching on nearby houses 4km from the town of Cessnock
‘A fast-moving fire is burning near (Fairbairn) State Forest. It is expected to impact Selma Road within the coming hours,’ the warning said.
‘Your life could be at risk. It will soon be too dangerous to drive.’
Firefighting aircraft were being used to help crews on the ground contain the fire.
The service warned people in Emerald to call triple zero if their lives were in danger, and to not expect a firefighter at their door.
Power, water and mobile phone services could soon stop working, smoke would make it hard to see and breathe, and it would be hot and loud with potential explosions nearby, the service said.
It warned people to check for road closures before they left via the QLD Traffic website and said if they didn’t leave, they could be isolated.
Those who could not leave safely were advised to find a safe place to shelter, preferably in a brick building, and to seal vents.
A QFES spokesman described the Emerald fire as a ‘large grass fire’ around 2km in size and that 10 crews were fighting it.
Another five crews were sent out by 2pm.
At 1.54pm another warning was issued for a ‘fast moving’ fire burning in the Glass House Mountains National Park.
The fire was expected to reach Mawsons Road ‘within the hour’. The warning area also includes Holt Road.
The latest fires follow a stark warning that Australia could be in for its worst bushfire season in years.
The Bureau of Meteorology along with state and national emergency services agencies, fire services and climate authorities combined to issue the high-level warning to ‘prepare now’.
Residents of a rural central Queensland town have been told to ‘leave immediately’ as a fast moving bushfire makes its way towards people and houses, putting ‘lives at risk’. There is a second fire burning in the Glass House Mountains National Park (pictured) near Beerwah on the Sunshine Coast
Rain has created ‘fuel growth’ for bushfires to spread, with large parts of NSW, Queensland and the Northern Territory at increased risk
A new report said Australia is emerging from ‘consecutive La Niña years’, which brought heavy rain, into a period marked by ‘higher chances of above average temperatures and below average rainfall for almost the entire country’.
While land in many areas is not as dry as before previous horror bushfire seasons, a new seasonal outlook said an ‘increased risk of bushfire has been identified’ for much of the country for spring.
‘Recent rainfall means many regions have also seen increased fuel growth, which is contributing to increased risk of bushfire for many regions of Australia during the spring season,’ the statement said.
The risks apply to ‘large areas of the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales, as well as regions in Victoria and South Australia’.
An ‘increased risk of bushfire’ is the likelihood of an increased number of significant bushfires occurring compared with the average.
The spring seasonal outlook, issued by the National Council for Fire and Emergency Services, and developed by the BoM and 10 state organisations, is meant as ‘a strong reminder to communities and businesses across the country to prepare now’.
‘Wherever you live, work or travel, now is the time to plan and prepare. Understand your risk, know where you will get your information, and talk to your family about what you will do.’
Twelve fire and emergency services organisations, including the weather office, have issued a high-level warning to ‘prepare now’ for the bushfire season. A bushfire is pictured
Property owners on urban fringes and in regional areas are urged to prepare bushfire survival plans and maintain their blocks by trimming overhanging branches, mowing lawns, cleaning gutters and installing mesh on windows, among other measures.
A spokesman for the NSW Rural Fire Service told Daily Mail Australia that ‘leaving it to the last minute to prepare is simply too late’.
‘It is important that every landowner knows their risk and takes the time now to prepare.
‘Being threatened by fire can be an incredibly daunting experience and that’s why if your plan is to leave, or you are not prepared, leaving early is the safest option.’
Protect yourself and your property from life-threatening bushfires
- Clean your gutters of leaves and twigs
- Install metal gutter guards
- Repair damaged or missing tiles on the roof
- Install fine metal mesh screens on windows and doors
- Fit seals around doors and windows to eliminate gaps
- Enclose the areas under the house
- Repair or cover gaps in external walls
- Attach a fire sprinkler system to gutters
- Keep lawns short and gardens well maintained
- Cut back trees and shrubs overhanging all buildings
- Clean up fallen leaves, twigs and debris around the property
- Have hoses long enough to reach around your house
- If you have a pool, tank or dam, put a Static Water Supply (SWS) sign on your property entrance, so firefighters know where they can get water
- Check and maintain adequate levels of home and contents insurance. Ensure it is up to date
- Prepare a Bushfire Survival Plan – which includes what to do should a bushfire occur – that everyone in the house understands. Examples are at the QFES website and the NSW Rural Fire Service website
If a bushfire is approaching, leave as early as possible – especially ensure children and elderly people are out.
If you’re planning on conducting a burn greater than 2m in any direction in Queensland, you need to obtain a Permit To Light Fire. Talk to your local Fire Warden or head to the QFES website.
To find out if you need a fire permit in NSW, go to the NSW Rural Fire Service website.