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Dozens of bushfires burn out of control in NSW and Queensland as temperatures soar Dozens of bushfires burn out of control in NSW and Queensland as temperatures soar
(32 minutes later)
Hot and windy weather has created volatile conditions along parts of Australia’s east coastHot and windy weather has created volatile conditions along parts of Australia’s east coast
New South Wales is in uncharted territory as bushfires burn across the state with a record 15 “emergency warnings” issued for blazes from the Blue Mountains to the Queensland border.New South Wales is in uncharted territory as bushfires burn across the state with a record 15 “emergency warnings” issued for blazes from the Blue Mountains to the Queensland border.
More than 90 fires are burning on Friday afternoon with conditions expected to worsen, NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said. Residents are also being evacuated in parts of Queensland, where dozens more fires are burning and temperatures have soared.
More than 90 fires are burning on Friday afternoon in NSW with conditions expected to worsen, NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.
“It’s a very dynamic, it’s a very volatile and it’s a very dangerous set of circumstances that we’re experiencing,” he told ABC TV.“It’s a very dynamic, it’s a very volatile and it’s a very dangerous set of circumstances that we’re experiencing,” he told ABC TV.
The RFS tweeted after 4pm: “A number of fires in the north coast and northern NSW areas are becoming more intense - and more dangerous. Some are creating their own weather conditions.”The RFS tweeted after 4pm: “A number of fires in the north coast and northern NSW areas are becoming more intense - and more dangerous. Some are creating their own weather conditions.”
MidCoast Council mayor David West is anguished as residents face dangerous conditions near Taree.MidCoast Council mayor David West is anguished as residents face dangerous conditions near Taree.
“From my personal perspective, it’s horrifying,” he said.“From my personal perspective, it’s horrifying,” he said.
“I’ve never felt a sense of anguish that I do now, the fear for my community.”“I’ve never felt a sense of anguish that I do now, the fear for my community.”
There are 15 emergency warnings current in NSW for fires stretching from just north of Forster to west of Tenterfield near the Queensland border.There are 15 emergency warnings current in NSW for fires stretching from just north of Forster to west of Tenterfield near the Queensland border.
The worst fires are at: Hillville, Crowdy Bay National Park, Tapin Tops National Park, Port Macquarie, Willi Willi, the Mistake State Forest in Nambucca and surrounds, Tyringham, Wandsworth, Carrai Creek, Chaelundi, Woodford, Stockyard Flat and Torrington.The worst fires are at: Hillville, Crowdy Bay National Park, Tapin Tops National Park, Port Macquarie, Willi Willi, the Mistake State Forest in Nambucca and surrounds, Tyringham, Wandsworth, Carrai Creek, Chaelundi, Woodford, Stockyard Flat and Torrington.
In total there are 89 bushfires burning across the state. There are nine watch and act alerts in place.In total there are 89 bushfires burning across the state. There are nine watch and act alerts in place.
“Unfortunately we are in uncharted territory this afternoon - we’ve never seen this many fires concurrently at emergency warning level,” Fitzsimmons told ABC TV.“Unfortunately we are in uncharted territory this afternoon - we’ve never seen this many fires concurrently at emergency warning level,” Fitzsimmons told ABC TV.
An out-of-control fire burning near Hillville, south of Taree, crossed the Pacific Highway as it spread quickly.An out-of-control fire burning near Hillville, south of Taree, crossed the Pacific Highway as it spread quickly.
The highway is closed in both directions between Taree and Bulahdelah. The Pacific Highway is also closed at Port Macquarie between the Oxley Highway and Hastings River Drive.The highway is closed in both directions between Taree and Bulahdelah. The Pacific Highway is also closed at Port Macquarie between the Oxley Highway and Hastings River Drive.
“It (the Hillville fire) moving toward the coast at a fairly rapid rate,” West said.“It (the Hillville fire) moving toward the coast at a fairly rapid rate,” West said.
“The area that I live in hasn’t been burned in about 30 years. There’s a huge amount of fuel load.”“The area that I live in hasn’t been burned in about 30 years. There’s a huge amount of fuel load.”
A number of schools were closed in the area due to the bushfires.A number of schools were closed in the area due to the bushfires.
MidCoast council’s deputy mayor, Claire Pontin, who lives in nearby Hallidays Point, said the area was “tinder dry”.MidCoast council’s deputy mayor, Claire Pontin, who lives in nearby Hallidays Point, said the area was “tinder dry”.
“It’s just crispy,” she said. “In places you can hear the leaves crunching under your feet.”“It’s just crispy,” she said. “In places you can hear the leaves crunching under your feet.”
Earlier on Friday Fitzsimmons said two homes had been damaged or destroyed in the fire burning at Stockyard Flat near Walcha. Assessors were yet to reach the site.Earlier on Friday Fitzsimmons said two homes had been damaged or destroyed in the fire burning at Stockyard Flat near Walcha. Assessors were yet to reach the site.
Fitzsimmons said bush and grass fires were burning through about 370,000 hectares of NSW land – more than the entire land area burned last year. Dust is expected to be blown across much of the state’s northeast on Friday with the central coast and Newcastle areas the worst affected.Fitzsimmons said bush and grass fires were burning through about 370,000 hectares of NSW land – more than the entire land area burned last year. Dust is expected to be blown across much of the state’s northeast on Friday with the central coast and Newcastle areas the worst affected.
The fire danger should lessen over the weekend, although threat levels were forecast to rise again on Tuesday or Wednesday next week, Fitzsimmons said.The fire danger should lessen over the weekend, although threat levels were forecast to rise again on Tuesday or Wednesday next week, Fitzsimmons said.
Extreme fire warnings in QueenslandExtreme fire warnings in Queensland
Residents are being told to flee from a fire burning north of Noosa, as crews battle dozens more burning across Queensland. Residents are being evacuated from the path of a raging bushfire north of Noosa, as dozens more burn across Queensland amid dangerous conditions.
A watch and act alert is currently in place for Cooroibah, near Noosa, where people are being told to leave now. Police have declared a blaze that is threatening homes at Cooroibah on Friday afternoon an emergency and are urging residents to get out.
Residents in Buccan, south of Brisbane, as well as Thorton, Clumber and Lower Beechmont are being told to prepare to leave as separate fires burn. People in the path of a large, unpredictable and fast-moving bushfire in the Scenic Rim were also being urged to leave before it is too late.
Residents in Buccan, south of Brisbane, as well as Thornton, Clumber and Lower Beechmont were told to prepare to leave as separate fires burn.
The Thornton blaze has split into two separate fires travelling in different directions.The Thornton blaze has split into two separate fires travelling in different directions.
Conditions are challenging because the fire is burning in steep, rugged country.Conditions are challenging because the fire is burning in steep, rugged country.
Belts of parched land and withered bush across Queensland are raising the risk of bushfire. Authorities said more than 40 fires were burning across the state on Friday afternoon. Belts of parched land and withered bush across Queensland are raising the risk of bushfire.
Authorities said more than 40 fires were burning across the state on Friday afternoon with dry, windy and dangerous conditions.
“Today will be the peak of the worst fire dangers and conditions will ease tomorrow,” meteorologist Jess Gardner said.“Today will be the peak of the worst fire dangers and conditions will ease tomorrow,” meteorologist Jess Gardner said.
“They will remain quite challenging as we continue to see a very, very dry air mass and some fairly fresh winds.”“They will remain quite challenging as we continue to see a very, very dry air mass and some fairly fresh winds.”
Extreme fire warnings are in place from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast, inland to Toowoomba and then out towards Dalby, Miles and Goondiwindi. A fire ban is in place for residents in the Toowoomba and Southern Downs Regional Council areas. Extreme fire warnings are in place from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast, inland to Toowoomba and then out towards Dalby, Miles and Goondiwindi.
A fire ban is in place for the Toowoomba and Southern Downs Regional Council areas.
Another area of concern is Teewah, north of Noosa, where firefighters have contained a fire but warn it could again flare up.Another area of concern is Teewah, north of Noosa, where firefighters have contained a fire but warn it could again flare up.
Severe warnings have also been issued for the area between Gympie and Bundaberg, out to Taroom, Emerald and west to Charleville.Severe warnings have also been issued for the area between Gympie and Bundaberg, out to Taroom, Emerald and west to Charleville.
The air is dry, the temperature is hot and strong winds are expected to sweep through areas shrivelled by a lack of rain.The air is dry, the temperature is hot and strong winds are expected to sweep through areas shrivelled by a lack of rain.
“On top of the current weather, we’ve had stress on the plants, we’ve got a lot of what’s called curing, a lot of the grass is already brown,” Queensland Fire and Emergency Services superintendent James Haig said.“On top of the current weather, we’ve had stress on the plants, we’ve got a lot of what’s called curing, a lot of the grass is already brown,” Queensland Fire and Emergency Services superintendent James Haig said.
“What I’m saying is, the drought conditions, the long-term dry conditions, the lack of rainfall, have exacerbated the bushfire conditions.”The seasonal outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology is for below-average rainfall until after Christmas, and hotter temperatures. It means an intense and long bushfire season. “What I’m saying is, the drought conditions, the long-term dry conditions, the lack of rainfall, have exacerbated the bushfire conditions.”
Wind gusts of up to 80km/h are expected Friday afternoon as a low-pressure trough sweeps across the southeast.Wind gusts of up to 80km/h are expected Friday afternoon as a low-pressure trough sweeps across the southeast.