Bushfires NSW, QLD: ‘Frightening’ photos of bushfires raging through state


Terrifying footage of a Qantas flight being forced to take emergency action due to the “apocalyptic” fires that have killed two people are emerging online, as unprecedented fires continue to rip through at least 100 homes in NSW on Friday.

The NSW Rural Fire Service confirmed the death of the first victim at 8.00am Saturday, which occurred at the Kangawalla fire, near Glen Innes.

Now NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has confirmed a second tragic death during a press conference about the state’s emergency situation.

“Our thoughts and prayers of course go to the families and loved ones of those two deceased persons,” she said, warning residents to “brace ourselves” for the “concerning” weather yet to come. Seven people remain unaccounted for and 30 are injured.

Terrifying photos of the fire are unfolding online, with many sharing shots of billowing smoke and raging flames.

Passenger James Hancock flying to Port Macquarie today shared footage of the moment the Qantas plane he was on hit billowing smoke that was too tricky for the pilot to land.

Another passenger Matt Hope who was on a plane flying from Sydney to Brisbane shared the horror scenes unfolding across on the ground as they flew over.

“So frightening,” he wrote about witnessing the dramatic moments from the sky.

Other photos filled social media sites showing scary scenes of the fire from backyards and streets.

Dramatic scenes of a beach near Tuncurry, NSW have also emerged, showing ominous flumes of smoke engulfing the area.

pacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Bushfires-NSW-QLD-‘Frightening’-photos-of-bushfires-raging-through-state.jpeg”/>
media_cameraSmoke is seen in the distance near Tuncurry, NSW, November 9, 2019. Picture: AAP Image/Shane Chalker
Smoke and fire is seen in the distance near Rainbow Flats, NSW, last night. Picture: AAP Image/Shane Chalkerpacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/1573272053_803_Bushfires-NSW-QLD-‘Frightening’-photos-of-bushfires-raging-through-state.jpeg”/>
media_cameraSmoke and fire is seen in the distance near Rainbow Flats, NSW, last night. Picture: AAP Image/Shane Chalker

Parts of New South Wales and Queensland continued to burn on Saturday as residents were trapped in homes and flames proved a struggle for firefighters to reach those in need.

It comes as extremely hot, dry and windy conditions are expected to lash parts of Western Australia, increasing the risk of bushfires in the state.

NSW firefighters are in “uncharted territory” as more than 9 emergency level fires rage across the state with reports of people injured and trapped in their homes.

Another 9 bushfires are at a Watch and Act level. At 6:30am there were 77 bush or grass fires with 42 uncontained.

On Saturday morning the RFS said: “We are still seeing erratic and dangerous fire behaviour across the remainder of fire grounds, which continues to pose a threat to homes.”

On Friday evening the NSW Rural Fire Service reported 82 fires burning with 12 of them at emergency level, mostly across the north coast and northern NSW from the Blue Mountains to the Queensland border.

NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said he had previously only seen six to eight emergency-level blazes at once, meaning the current situation was “unprecedented”.

“Unfortunately we are in uncharted territory this afternoon – we’ve never seen this many fires concurrently at emergency warning level,” he said.

“It’s a very dynamic, it’s a very volatile and it’s a very dangerous set of circumstances that we’re experiencing.”

Prime Minster Scott Morrison said he was receiving regular updates and urged residents to listen to emergency services.

“Incredibly concerning there are a large number of bushfires burning at emergency levels in NSW and Qld … I’m getting regular updates and we stand ready to offer any assistance needed,” he tweeted.

Hot, windy conditions are wreaking havoc as bushfires burn out of control across parts of NSW. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechtspacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/1573272053_908_Bushfires-NSW-QLD-‘Frightening’-photos-of-bushfires-raging-through-state.jpeg”/>
media_cameraHot, windy conditions are wreaking havoc as bushfires burn out of control across parts of NSW. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts
The NSW RFS says there are still many hours of difficult firefighting ahead. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechtpacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/1573272053_574_Bushfires-NSW-QLD-‘Frightening’-photos-of-bushfires-raging-through-state.jpeg”/>
media_cameraThe NSW RFS says there are still many hours of difficult firefighting ahead. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrecht

TWO HOMES DESTROYED

There have been multiple reports of people trapped in property with at least two homes already destroyed and fears of many more to come.

Commissioner Fitzsimmons said there were reports of “multiple community areas being impacted, loss, damage and destruction”. There were also some early reports of injuries yet to be confirmed, and some minor injuries to firefighters.

More than 1000 firefighters and 70 aircraft had been deployed “to save as many people as possible”.

“Today has been a difficult and dangerous day. Unfortunately, many people have called for help but due to the size and speed of the fires we couldn’t get to everyone, even by road or helicopter,” the Rural Fire Service said at 7:15pm on Friday.

The Pacific Highway has been shut down between Taree and Bulahdelah and Port Macquarie between the Oxley Highway and Hastings River Drive as a result of the fires. The New England Highway has also been closed between Glen Innes and Tenterfield.

This picture taken by Kelly-ann Oosterbeek shows a fire near in Harrington, some 335 kilometres northeast of Sydney. Picture: Kelly-ann Oosterbeek / AFPpacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Bushfires-NSW-QLD-‘Frightening’-photos-of-bushfires-raging-through-state.webp”/>
media_cameraThis picture taken by Kelly-ann Oosterbeek shows a fire near in Harrington, some 335 kilometres northeast of Sydney. Picture: Kelly-ann Oosterbeek / AFP
A residential area is threatened by flames northeast of Sydney. Picture: Kelly-ann Oosterbeekpacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/1573272054_190_Bushfires-NSW-QLD-‘Frightening’-photos-of-bushfires-raging-through-state.jpeg”/>
media_cameraA residential area is threatened by flames northeast of Sydney. Picture: Kelly-ann Oosterbeek

The NSW RFS has received multiple reports of people being trapped in their homes, with crews unable to reach them due to the ferocity of the flames.

One resident in the small town of Bobin, near Taree, posted on social media that the school was on fire and at least one resident was trapped. There are potential fatalities at nearby Rainbow Flat, according to Seven News.

“We are going into a phase where the winds are going to be somewhat relentless into the evening,” the commissioner said in an online video.

NSW Rural Fire Service said they are un “uncharted territory” with the flames. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechtspacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/1573272054_802_Bushfires-NSW-QLD-‘Frightening’-photos-of-bushfires-raging-through-state.webp”/>
media_cameraNSW Rural Fire Service said they are un “uncharted territory” with the flames. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts
Residents and firefighters fight a bushfire that has threatened homes in Rainbow Flat on NSW Mid North Coast. Photo: Jeremy Piperpacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/1573272054_634_Bushfires-NSW-QLD-‘Frightening’-photos-of-bushfires-raging-through-state.jpeg”/>
media_cameraResidents and firefighters fight a bushfire that has threatened homes in Rainbow Flat on NSW Mid North Coast. Photo: Jeremy Piper

QUEENSLAND ALSO HIT

More than 50 bushfires were also burning across Queensland on Friday afternoon at one point with residents warned to grab their pets and take cover.

Cooler conditions may give firefighters a break as they battle blazes in Queensland, but winds could still make their work difficult.

Police declared an emergency at Cooroibah and evacuated part of it as a fire threatened homes.

Noosa Mayor Tony Wellington said the situation was “very volatile” early on Friday night.

The fast-moving fire was keeping emergency services on their toes as the winds were changing direction, he said.

“It’s going to be a long night, it’s going to be a distressing night,” Mr Wellington said. “My sympathies go out to everyone.”

Cooroibah resident Denyta Eaton fears for the horses she left behind when fleeing her home with her brother and parents.

The family took their dogs but they had no time to walk the horses out. A neighbour cut the fence to prevent the horses, Cody and Effy, being trapped. “There was so much smoke we could barely breathe,” she said.

Noosa Pet Resort proprietor Pat Cutting had 40 dogs, six cats and her 80-year-old mother to evacuate.

“At the moment we’re hosing everything and we’re ready to get all the animals out of here,” she told AAP as she got ready to go.

“The rural fire brigade is on the corner. If they come down the driveway it’ll be ‘yep, let’s go’.”

People in the path of a blaze at Tarome, in the Scenic Rim area, also left, some to nearby Aratula, after being warned they were in danger.

NSW Rural Fire Service work to protect property in Woodford NSW. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechtspacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/1573272054_106_Bushfires-NSW-QLD-‘Frightening’-photos-of-bushfires-raging-through-state.webp”/>
media_cameraNSW Rural Fire Service work to protect property in Woodford NSW. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

RESIDENTS WARNED TO TAKE COVER

People who are trapped are being advised to stay inside and take cover until the fire front passes.

Some of the fires are so intense they are creating their own weather conditions and causing “pyrocumulous” clouds to develop. These types of clouds can even create their own thunderstorms and result in dry lightning.

RFS said these are “extremely dangerous” and warned people not to be caught out in the open.

MidCoast Council mayor David West, who lives in Brimbin, said that in his 73 years he had never seen anything like the fire in his area.

“I’m looking at a sky that’s screaming danger, that’s saying ‘get out of my way, I’m going to kill you’,” he told AAP on Friday night.

“I know that sounds melodramatic but it’s not. This is a fire that’s devouring everything in its path.

Photo taken of the bushfire raging at Port Macquarie. Picture: Jack Begbie/Twitterpacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/1573272055_508_Bushfires-NSW-QLD-‘Frightening’-photos-of-bushfires-raging-through-state.webp”/>
media_cameraPhoto taken of the bushfire raging at Port Macquarie. Picture: Jack Begbie/Twitter
The bushfire seen from an aged care centre in Forster. Picture: Jacki Pocock/Facebookpacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/1573272055_945_Bushfires-NSW-QLD-‘Frightening’-photos-of-bushfires-raging-through-state.jpeg”/>
media_cameraThe bushfire seen from an aged care centre in Forster. Picture: Jacki Pocock/Facebook

“From my personal perspective, it’s horrifying … I’ve never felt a sense of anguish that I do now, the fear for my community.”

Mr West said a fire near Forster threatened a council building on Thursday night.

“It was literally a wall of yellow, horrible, beastly, tormenting flames,” the mayor said.

“It was a horrendous beast.”

Originally published as Terrifying moment plane hits ‘thick smoke’





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