More than 30 homes lost as Qld fires continue to burn

Fire firefighters at Tara

Source: Queensland Fire & Emergency Services

An emergency warning has been issued for a large, fast-moving bushfire near Mount Isa in northern Queensland, with people in the area urged to leave immediately as their lives could be at risk.

Friday’s update came as dozens of bushfires continue to burn across southern Queensland, including multiple that began overnight.

More homes were lost on Thursday, with authorities confirming 32 homes and a dozen other structures have so far been destroyed as nervous evacuees await news of when they can return to their properties.

According to the warning by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services early on Friday, homes in the Mount Isa area have also been affected, and firefighters might not be able to stop the fire from getting closer and it would soon be too dangerous to drive.

QFES acting area director Mark Wilkinson said it was an extension of a blaze that began a week ago.

“Extreme wind yesterday caused this to jump the highway,” he said.

“Our concern is the eastern side of the road. It’s closed now and will remain closed for at least today.”

The warning area is for Lake Moondarra Road, Barramundi Way, The Junction, and tracks and parks around Lake Moondarra, QFES said early on Friday.

“Do not expect a firefighter at your door … It will be hot and loud. You may hear explosions nearby,” it said.

Firefighters across Queensland have been warned another tough day lies ahead.

A ferocious bushfire on the Western Downs has claimed a life and destroyed 16 houses, burning more than 11,000 hectares since Monday.

However, crews are hopeful they can have the large fire at Tara, west of Brisbane, under control with a chance of rain on Friday.

More than 300 people were forced to leave their homes at Tara this week. There are still 267 people in evacuation centres at nearby Dalby and Chinchilla.

Queensland Rural Fire Service Assistant Commissioner Peter Hollier was hopeful the fire would be fully contained later on Friday.

However, he was unsure when people would be able to return to their homes.

“It is more about their safety, when it is safe for them to return,” he said.

“We are working as hard as we can to open up those areas.”

Firefighters hope to “wrap up” the Tara fire after crews fully contained a large Darling Downs blaze that burned 3000 hectares and destroyed a house following a cool change.

But Hollier warned Queensland was “not out of the woods yet”.

Extreme fire danger was expected in the state’s west on Friday, with strong winds and high temperatures, he said.

Fire is threatening Undullah, south-west of Brisbane, where residents have been told to seek shelter immediately.

There are 60 blazes still burning across Queensland, and fire bans in 56 local government areas.

“The threat still remains in the western part of the state,” Hollier said.

He said favourable conditions were forecast for Saturday but might provide only a brief respite.

“Right across the whole of the state [it] is very dry,” he said.

“If the wind continues, we will still have the fire behaviour that we are currently seeing and that will potentially go for the next three to four weeks.”

– with AAP

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