Water bomber deployed in south-east Queensland as NSW and WA fires keep burning

NBN Australia News
NBN Australia News

Updated August 12, 2018 23:23:42

A waterbombing helicopter has been used to help douse a large and fast-moving grass fire near Ipswich, west of Brisbane, where residents were urged to prepare to leave their homes.

Key points:

  • Watch and act fires at Ballandean, Lismore and WA’s Great Northern Highway have been downgraded
  • WA’s Great Northern Highway has been reopened after an earlier closure
  • A total fire ban was put in place for Sunday across the Ipswich, Somerset, Lockyer, Logan, Scenic Rim and Gold Coast local government areas

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) has now downgraded the fire hazard to Advice for residents in Mutdapilly, and an earlier watch and act notice has been downgraded for a fire at Ballandean, south of Stanthorpe on the Granite Belt, where residents are being told to prepare to leave.

“A strong fire is burning near Lynams Road, Ballandean, travelling in an easterly direction towards Ballandean,” the alert said earlier.

“People in the area will be affected by smoke, which will reduce visibility and air quality.”

Earlier, QFES had urged Mutdapilly residents to be ready to follow their bushfire survival plan.

“If you do not have a plan, or intend to leave, you should be ready to leave the area because the situation could get worse quickly,” the alert said.

The fire was burning near Mutdapilly Dip Road, Gimples Road, Mutdapilly Churchbank Weir Road and G Hines Road, moving in a north-easterly direction.

Just under 100 personnel worked to battle the blaze.

QFES’ Kaye Healing said firefighters needed to wait for winds to subside to put out the fire, something which was not expected to happen until late in the afternoon.

“It’s too dangerous to get in front of the head fire until it actually subsides a bit,” she said.

“So what we’re doing is working on the flanks and making sure the head fire doesn’t spread.”

The fire is currently moving toward a creek, which firefighters hope will halt the blaze.

“We’re fortunate that we’ve got a bit of a creek there at the moment but there’s no guarantees under these conditions with the strong wind that we’ll hold it at the creek line.”

She said if the fire had jumped the creek it would have placed more homes at risk.

Kerry Bowman saw the fire rapidly approaching his neighbours at the back.

“We saw some smoke up at the paddock near the highway and by the time I jumped in my ute it was halfway down the fence line,” he said.

“It was travelling over 20 kilometres per hour and I was concerned about the house over the back.

“That house was really in danger and luckily I think while the wind kept blowing it went straight past.

“I sent my son over there to shift the sheep and the horses and the dogs.

“Everyone from around the place got involved and saved the animals.”

Fire bans in place as fires affect WA, NSW

A total fire ban was in place on Sunday across the Ipswich, Somerset, Lockyer, Logan, Scenic Rim and Gold Coast local government areas.

Two watch and act level fires burning in the Lismore area in north-eastern NSW have been downgraded to Advice level.

One of the fires was burning on Ellangowan Road and Wrench’s Road in the Richmond Valley, while another was burning on Main Camp Road at West Bingawalbin in the Richmond Valley.

A fire at Peckhams Road, Ewingar in the Clarence Valley fell back to the Advice level earlier in the day.

In Western Australia, a watch and act bushfire warning for Great Northern Highway between Elvire River and the intersection of Sophie Downs North Road in the Mueller Ranges and Ord River was downgraded to, and the highway reopened.

The fire was burning in an inaccessible area on the outskirts of Halls Creek, and was threatening the highway, which was closed temporarily between Halls Creek and Warmun.

DFES earlier said there was no immediate threat to any of the surrounding communities, but urged motorists to postpone any travel or movement between Halls Creek and Kununurra.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Michael Knepp said a trough had brought a dry air mass and gusty winds to the area.

“We’ve seen gusts go up to 62 kilometres per hour so that’s just enhancing the fire dangers this afternoon,” he said.

“Luckily, these conditions will ease fairly quickly later this afternoon into the evening and we won’t see similar conditions tomorrow.”

Topics: fires, disasters-and-accidents, bushfire, willowbank-4306, qld, australia

First posted August 12, 2018 14:17:04

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