Around 130 bush and grass fires continued to rage across large swathes of Australia’s eastern coast on Tuesday night, from Far North Queensland to the NSW coast between Newcastle and Byron Bay and inland as far west as Bourke.

Firefighters have described the most serious fire affecting the hard-hit Peregian Beach area on the Sunshine Coast as like a “flamethrower”, as authorities warn the strong winds and dry conditions mean the blazes could continue to burn for weeks.

WHERE ARE THE FIRES NOW?

• As of Tuesday evening there were 79 fires in Queensland and 52 in NSW.

• The biggest concern for authorities remains the fire at Peregian on the Sunshine Coast, which is at Emergency Warning level. Residents have been ordered to evacuate immediately.

• The “large and unpredictable” fire is travelling in a north, north westerly direction towards Peregian Beach, Peregian Breeze Estate and the southern end of Lake Weyba, just inland from Marcus Beach.

• More than 5000 people from 2500 homes have been evacuated over the last 24 hours due to the fire, which may have been deliberately lit.

• Weyba Downs is at Watch and Act level.

• Several other fires across the state are at Advice level.

• In NSW, authorities have issued Watch and Act alerts for two major fires at Bees Nest near Armidale and Drake near Tenterfield.

• The Bees Nest fire, which is burning north towards properties in Billys Creek, was downgraded from Emergency Warning just after 6pm as conditions eased.

• In Drake, the fire continued to spread in a number of directions due to strong winds this afternoon, towards the Sandy Creek and Sandy Hill area and west of the Clarence River in the Girard State Forest.

• The fire at Shark Creek, south of Yamba, continues to burn in bushland in the Yuraygir National Park, to the north and south of the villages of Angourie and Wooloweyah.

• Firefighters and aircraft have slowed the spread of the Shark Creek fire, which has been downgraded to Advice level as conditions ease.

WHAT IS THE DAMAGE SO FAR?

• Twenty-six homes have been lost so far, 17 in Queensland and nine in NSW.

• Seventy-three homes have been damaged, 67 in Queensland and six in NSW.

• In Queensland, one home has been lost at Peregian Springs and another “severely damaged”, 11 homes have been lost at Scenic Rim, four at Applethorpe and Stanthorpe and one at Biboohra in Far North Queensland.

• In NSW, eight homes have been lost in Drake and one at Tenterfield.

• Dozens of outbuildings and commercial facilities have been lost in both states.

• On the Gold Coast hinterland, the 86-year-old, heritage-listed Binna Burra Lodge was completely destroyed.

• The Bees Nest fire has burnt more than 72,000 hectares of forest and the Drake fire has burnt nearly 40,000 hectares. The two fires have respective perimeters of 300km and 171km.

• On the Gold Coast hinterland, the 86-year-old, heritage-listed Binna Burra Lodge was completely destroyed.

HOW ARE AUTHORITIES RESPONDING?

• More than 1000 firefighters have been deployed in Queensland and more than 630 in NSW.

• On Tuesday afternoon, a Boeing 737 air bomber delivered a 15,000-litre payload of fire retardant along the fire front west of Peregian before returning to NSW.

• Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced she will cut her overseas trip short and return from Switzerland to assist with the crisis.

WHEN WILL CONDITIONS IMPROVE?

• Latest Bureau of Meteorology forecasts show fire danger decreasing across most of Queensland to “high” on Wednesday and Thursday as wind conditions ease.

• Increasing temperatures on Friday will lead to “very high” fire dangers returning across southern and central districts.

• In NSW, the winds that have been driving fires across the state are expected to ease somewhat on Wednesday but there will still be strong gusts through the day.

• Conditions should improve “significantly” on Wednesday and Thursday, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, but the state may see a return of warm and windy weather early next week.

• Authorities have warned the fires could continue to burn for “days and weeks” due to the remoteness of some fires and the lack of rain forecast.

WHAT ARE THE EMERGENCY LEVELS?

• “Emergency Warning” means you are in danger and need to take immediate action recommended by the fire service.

• “Watch and Act” means there is a heightened level of threat, you need to be aware of your situation and take action to be prepared and protect yourself and your family.

• “Advice” means there is no immediate threat but you need to stay informed in case the situation changes.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO?

• Listen to your local radio station or visit the Rural Fire Service NSW or Rural Fire Service Queensland website for regular updates.

• If you have a bushfire survival plan, finalise it now so you are ready to follow it.

• If you do not have a bushfire survival plan, or if your plan is to leave, identify where you will go if you leave the area.

• Advise family and friends of your plan.

• Close windows and doors to minimise smoke exposure.

• If you suffer from a respiratory condition, keep your medication close by.

• Drive with caution in low visibility conditions.

• Contact your neighbours to see if they need help preparing for the bushfire.

• Pack important documents and essential items (passports, birth certificates, prescription medication, food and water, and protective clothing) in case you need to leave the area.

• Put on protective clothing (a long-sleeved cotton shirt, boots with thick soles.

• Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

• Bring pets inside, restrain them with a leash, a cage, or inside a secure room, and provide them with plenty of water.

• Take action to protect your livestock.

• Move flammable materials such as doormats, wheelie bins, and outdoor furniture away from your house.

• Fill containers such as your bath, sinks, and buckets with water so you have access to drinking water and firefighting water.

• Close windows and doors, sealing the gaps under doors and screens with wet towels to keep smoke out of the house.

 

NEWS.COM.AU

https://newsoweto.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/NED-0329-Bushfire-map_ToiGI1pqS-829x1024.jpghttps://newsoweto.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/NED-0329-Bushfire-map_ToiGI1pqS-150x150.jpgStaff Reporter2World
Around 130 bush and grass fires continued to rage across large swathes of Australia’s eastern coast on Tuesday night, from Far North Queensland to the NSW coast between Newcastle and Byron Bay and inland as far west as Bourke. Firefighters have described the most serious fire affecting the hard-hit Peregian...