Fresh fire warning in Qld, as dangerous storms loom

Residents to the north of the Queensland town of Miles are on alert as firefighters try to bring a large bushfire under control.

Residents to the north of the Queensland town of Miles are on alert as firefighters try to bring a large bushfire under control. Photo: AAP

Queensland fire authorities have just issued an evacuation warning for a dangerous blaze on the western downs, north-west of Brisbane.

Queensland Fire and Emergency issued the warning for Myall Park and Hookswood at 2.15pm Monday (local time).

“A fast-moving fire is travelling Warramoo Road and is expected to impact Ryalls Road within the coming hours,” it said.

“This fire may pose a threat to lives. It will soon be too dangerous to drive. Major roads in the area may be impacted.”

Earlier, the warnings for some of the 50 bushfires burning across Queensland had been downgraded, ahead of a reprieve from days of extreme heat and fire danger on Tuesday.

But the looming change to cooler conditions will bring a different threat, with the likelihood of severe thunderstorms bringing large hail, damaging winds and heavy rainfall.

Forecaster Weatherzone also warned the cool change was likely to be humid.

“The humidity will make Brisbane feel as hot as about 35 degrees on Monday and about 31 degrees on Tuesday, despite maximum temperatures being three-to-four degrees lower than that,” it said.

Queensland fire authorities remain most concerned about two blazes, the one at Myall Park and another at Tara on the western downs. More than 40 residents from homes at Tara, north-west of Brisbane, remained in evacuation centres on Monday.

Firefighters believe structures may have been lost but have been unable to access either area.

No fatalities or significant injuries have been reported, but firefighters said some people had been treated for smoke inhalation or heat exhaustion.

Emergency warnings were downgraded to watch and act levels on Monday.

The Bureau of Meteorology said a heatwave warning remained current for parts of Queensland, with maximum temperatures up to 10 degrees higher than average in the state’s east.

“Conditions are forecast to ease on Tuesday with cooler temperatures, and possible severe thunderstorms with large hail, damaging winds and heavy rainfall expected,” the BOM said in an update.

A hazardous surf warning was current for south-east Queensland and north-east NSW due to large easterly swells from ex–Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle, which was expected to batter New Zealand later on Monday.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services state operations coordinator James Haig said there had been reports of structure losses from some fires. However, crews were yet to assess the damage.

“We’re really focused on containing the fires, that’s stopping them spreading further and then bringing them under full control,” he said.

The Myall Creek fire has burnt through about 2300 hectares and continues to pose a threat, travelling between Myall Park Road and the Leichhardt Highway towards Warramoo Road and Old Forrest Road.

Major roads have also been affected.

The fire at Tara is smaller, covering about 840 hectares. It continues to burn between South Road, Chinchilla Tara Road, Wieambilla Road, Church Road and Weranga North Road.

Water-bombing aircraft, two air support crews and dozens of ground crews remain on alert at both blazes.

Queensland sweltered through its hottest day in nearly two years on Sunday, with 40-plus temperatures in various parts of the state.

Record temperatures in Queensland

Heat on the rise in WA

The BOM has also warned that low to severe intensity heatwave conditions continue to build over Western Australia, with temperatures up to 10 degrees above average.

There are heatwave and fire weather warnings for parts of inland WA. They are expected to continue throughout the week.

“Heat over Western Australia will start shifting east in coming days, peaking across southern and south-eastern Australia late this week and into the weekend with max temperatures six-12 degrees above average,” the bureau said.

Weatherzone’s prediction of possible rainfall in northern Australia. Image: Weatherzone

Tropical north Australia

There are also concerns for Australia’s north, with a tropical low  developing near Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

The BOM said it was forecast to develop further near the western Gulf of Carpentaria coast throughout Monday and Tuesday and remain slow moving.

“Depending on how long the system is over the Gulf of Carpentaria waters, it may develop into a tropical cyclone as early as Tuesday morning,” it said.

A cyclone watch has been issued for coastal communities from Cape Shield in the Northern Territory to the Queensland border, including Alyangula.


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