Friday, 20 September, 2019

More than 100 Australian bushfires 'omen' of severe summer fire season

"Wherever you are in Australia today I know that you stand with those who are facing that adversity in what is still a tense situation
Deanna Wagner | 11 September, 2019, 05:40

Queensland is in uncharted territory as crews battle to get the upper hand in the worst start to the fire season on record.

"The smoke in the house isn't bushfire smoke, it's toxic from the shed burning".

At least 20 properties have been destroyed by fire over three days - mostly inland from the Gold Coast.

They were told to evacuate or follow their bushfire plan on Monday afternoon because a fast and unsafe fire was heading their way. That figure was expected to grow this afternoon.

Almost 70 fires were yesterday burning across Queensland as Stanthorpe and Gold Coast Hinterland locals were warned the fight was far from over.

Sturgess said the risky fire conditions should be considered an "omen" or "warning of the fire season that we are likely to see in southeastern parts of the state where most of the population" over the summer months of December, January, and February.

"Very remote, really hard conditions for our firefighters, many of those areas and a lot of those assets, we just can not get to".

Commissioner Mike Wassing said there was still a lot of work to be done on the Stanthorpe/Applethorpe fire but it was not likely to threaten any further homes.

There had been additional than 80 fires burning at just one position on Monday and there are fireplace bans across most of the tinder-dry condition.

The township is a short drive south of the border town of Stanthorpe, where crews have contained another fire that has so far burnt through about 2000 hectares of land.

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Whereas Performing Queensland Premier, Jackie Trad, stated the extreme situations could possibly be attributed to local weather change.

Residents had earlier been told to leave if they did not have a bushfire survival plan.

The Insurance Council also declared a catastrophe for bushfires that have destroyed homes or property in the state's north, giving priority to claims from affected policyholders.

In the Gold Coast hinterland the fire was raging on both sides of Binna Burra road early on Sunday and moving easterly towards Numinbah Valley and Springbrook.

Twenty-one properties, including 15 homes and the historic Binna Burra Lodge, have been lost since Thursday.

The area is part of the World Heritage-listed Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves of Australia.

Scenic Rim Regional Council Mayor Greg Christensen warned it is still too risky for many to return to their homes because they risk being trapped by falling trees and other hazards.

"This fire has continued to show a mind of its own".

A firefighter is also critically ill in hospital while four homes and a shooting range are believed destroyed as NSW fire crews battle dozens of uncontained bush and grass fires.

Eight aircraft were being sent to the Binna Burra blaze, including water bombers.