Bushfire updates: NSW, Tenterfield Bees Nest, QLD, Stanthorpe Applethorpe Gold Coast
More than 135 fires are continuing to burn in rural New South Wales and Queensland this morning, despite emergency services across the states spending the night battling the blazes.
At 7am Sunday, NSW Rural Fire Service confirmed to news.com.au there were 65 bush fires still burning, 29 of which are not yet contained.
While in QLD, there are still more than 70 fires burning strong a spokesperson from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services told news.com.au, with many communities remaining on high alert.
NSW Rural Fire Service are currently concerned about two major fires in the state, Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers told news.com.au this morning; the blaze in Bees Nest, near Armidale LGA and one on Long Gully Road, Drake near Tenterfield.
“The Armidale area is a huge area, it is more than 100km wide and is still burning actively, so it’s a major concern for us,” Rob said.
In the Drake area, two communities the RFS are worried about are Ewingar and Tilbaroo, both of which are struggling in the dry conditions with winds expected to pick up and worsen conditions.
At 7am Sunday (8 September), there’s 59 bush fires still burning across NSW. 16 are not yet contained. Two fires remain at Watch And Act – the Bees Nest fire (Armidale LGA) and Long Gully Road, Drake (Tenterfield LGA). Very high fire danger for much of north coast today. #NSWRFS pic.twitter.com/gSiV9CseeI
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) September 7, 2019
Mr Rogers explained the dry land from the state’s drought and the low humidity have made the conditions a “recipe for disaster”.
“We’re holding out for some spring rain, but it’s not looking good at all,” he said.
He confirmed there are over 400 firefighters on the ground and 30 aircraft battling the blazes, stating one home had been completely destroyed in the bush fires with another four affected. However more were expected to be added to that count.
WATCH AND ACT – Long Gully Road fire (Tenterfield LGA). Firefighters have kept the fire to the western side of the Clarence River but another challenging day is ahead with strong winds forecast. The fire has now burnt more than 20,000 hectares. #nswrfs pic.twitter.com/2kUk9BSkXV
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) September 7, 2019
Tenterfield local Neville Smith’s hands, arm, legs, back, face and airways were burned on Friday while he and a colleague fought a fire at Mount Mackenzie Road, which had burned more than 3500 hectares south of the Tenterfield township by Saturday evening.
The 66-year-old was stabilised at the local hospital, intubated and then flown to Royal Brisbane Hospital, where he remains in a critical-but-stable condition.
In Queensland, Stanthorpe and surrounding suburb Applethorpe both still remain a concern for the QFES. A spokesperson told news.com.au advice to locals was “prepare to leave” with a warning “conditions could get worse”.
As of 7am Sunday, a dangerous fire continues to travel in a north, north easterly direction towards Applethorpe. It is expected to impact properties on Ellwood Road, Kelly Road and Allen Lane, Applethorpe and could have a significant impact on the community.
Currently there are 70 bush fires ablaze in the region and 20 homes have been lost, ABC News reported. This is up from the toll of 15 on Saturday which was confirmed by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
So far no lives have been lost in the brutal fires, but one man in his 20s was taken to Gold Coast University Hospital yesterday in a stable condition after collapsing while fighting a fire at a private residence in Clagiraba.
QFES Minister Craig Crawford pleaded with people to remain alert and heed their warnings.
“If you receive a message to leave or to prepare to leave, we ask that you follow that without question,” he said.
“If you have an emergency service worker or volunteer door knock on your house and ask you to do something, please follow the request.
“It is for a very, very good reason.”
On social media, residents across the states have been waking up to smoky sunrises, sharing photos of the red and orange landscapes.
Many are expressing fears for summer, if weather conditions were already this bad so early into spring.
“Spring has sprung. Summer will be a descent into hell,” one person wrote on Twitter.
While another said: “And it’s only just started.”
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO IF YOU’RE IN AN AFFECTED AREA
• Listen to your local radio station or visit the Rural Fire Service (RFS) 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 (e.g., passports, birth certificates, prescription medication, food and water, and protective clothing) in case you need to leave the area.
• Put on protective clothing (e.g., 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.
Originally published as Bushfire hell: ‘Recipe for disaster’