‘Too late to leave’: Life-threatening fires hit
Residents in southeast Queensland and northern NSW are being urged to stay alert as a number of bushfires are declared emergency level with an expected life-threatening impact.
The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services says the fire approaching the rural township of Thornton, in the Lockyer Valley, is extremely dangerous, and that fire crews may soon be unable to hold containment lines.
At 2pm on Tuesday the blaze was burning in a northerly direction from the Glen Rock National Park towards Main Camp Creek Rd.
"The fire is expected to have a significant impact on the community," QFES said.
As at 4.40pm Tuesday, there were 26 fire engines on scene and 15 vehicles en route.
LEAVE IMMEDIATELY: Townson (part of Glen Rock bushfire) as at 2.25pm Tue 8 Oct. More: https://t.co/5740bRh9P0— Qld Fire & Emergency (@QldFES) October 8, 2019
QFES has advised residents to evacuate in a northerly direction via Main Camp Creek Rd as soon as possible.
Residents in nearby Lefthand Branch have been on high alert since Monday afternoon when the blaze flared up.
They have been told to prepare to leave if conditions deteriorate.
"If you don't have a bushfire survival plan, then please get on to our website or social media and identify what you are going to do," QFES Deputy Commissioner Mark Roche told Nine on Tuesday.
"If you are going to take action, please take that action early."
Residents in Laidley, also in the Lockyer Valley, have been told "it is now too late to leave the area".
On Tuesday afternoon, QFES issued an emergency warning for a severe and fast-moving bushfire "expected to have a life-threatening impact on the community".
It's travelling in a north-easterly direction towards Douglas McInnes Drive, Railway St, Ward Court, Wilson Court, Tyrrell Court, Storr St, Leonard St, Edward St and Coates St.
SEEK SHELTER: Laidley bushfire as at 2.50pm Tues 8 Oct: https://t.co/ESMPlztDE1— Qld Fire & Emergency (@QldFES) October 8, 2019
Police have declared an emergency situation at #Laidley this afternoon due to a developing bush fire threat.— Queensland Police (@QldPolice) October 8, 2019
If you are in the area, leave immediately if it is safe to do so. If you are outside the area, do not try and enter.
More: https://t.co/2QwnbzQKNP pic.twitter.com/xdF0cTF7xr
There are 20 fires burning across Queensland.
Many of these fires are in central Queensland, which has a severe fire danger warning.
Fire crews spent Monday afternoon battling a blaze threatening 10 homes at Mount Morgan.
That fire is burning within containment lines with no reported property loss.
Meteorologist Kimba Wong said warm, windy and dry conditions in the state's southeast and central areas will continue on Tuesday and could remain until Wednesday.
Temperatures in some parts of the state were up to 12C above average for October on Monday.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Three out-of-control blazes in NSW at Busbys Flat Rd, south of Casino, Long Gully Rd in Drake and Kildare Rd at Tenterfield triggered emergency warnings on Tuesday afternoon.
Residents living in the Tenterfield area have been advised to seek shelter as the fire approaches.
"The fire is spotting ahead of the fire front," the NSW RFS warning states.
EMERGENCY WARNING: Kildare Rd, Tenterfield.— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) October 8, 2019
Crews are working to protect homes in the area around Kildare Roadas well as homes on the western side of Tenterfield. Significant turbulence in the area is currently grounding a number of aircraft #nswrfs #nswfires pic.twitter.com/pimNaCMtme
RFS spokesman Greg Allan said the fire was currently burning five to 10 kilometres west of Tenterfield which has a population of just over 4000.
"It's burning under very strong westerly winds, it's heading in an easterly direction towards Tenterfield," Mr Allan told reporters in a recorded message.
"The advice for those in the Kildare Rd area and West Tenterfield is to shelter in place as the fire approaches."
EMERGENCY WARNING: Busbys Flat Rd (Richmond Valley LGA). Dangerous fire in Wyan, The Island, Rappville and Myrtle Creek areas. Fire is spreading quickly. If you are in the path of this fire, you are at risk. Seek shelter if the fire impacts. #nswrfs #nswfires #alert— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) October 8, 2019
Earlier, the RFS said firefighters battling the blaze at Busbys Flat Rd faced hot and windy conditions as they tried to control the fire burning in the vicinity of Seery Rd and Phillip Swamp Rd in the Mount Belmore State Forest.
"Residents in the area of Old Tenterfield Rd near Wyan and Wineshanty it is now too late to leave," the emergency warning states.
"Take shelter when the fire arrives and protect yourself from the heat of the fire."
The fire has already burned through 7500 hectares.
Mr Allan said conditions were not tipped to ease until later in the week.
"We're probably not going to see any reprieve until tomorrow," he told AAP.
"We've been seeing very strong westerly winds pushing that fire towards the east, still very high temperatures and very low humidity."
Amid sweltering heat - with temperatures tipped to reach 37C on Tuesday - total fire bans have been enacted in the far northcoast, north coast, New England and northern slopes areas, which are experiencing severe fire danger.
People living in the worst-affected areas have been warned to ensure they have an escape plan.
The RFS tweeted: "Make sure you and your family know what you will do if fire threatens. Ask yourself - when will you go, what will you take and where will you go?"
Despite a cooler weather forecast from midweek - with temperatures expected to drop to the mid-20s - continued dry conditions meant fire dangers would not immediately fall away, meteorologist Jonathan How said.
"With no significant rainfall, fire dangers will remain high to very high until at least the end of the week," he said.