More than 100 blazes continue to burn across Queensland but authorities believe the state’s unprecedented bushfire crisis won’t drag on for much longer.
Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford says heatwave conditions that have swept the state should abate by the middle of the week.
“We’re at day nine of significant operations (but) we’re nearly there,” he told the ABC on Monday.
“Once we get through to Wednesday this whole heatwave epidemic that we’re having will subside.”
He said that meant control lines around active blazes would have a much better chance of holding, and residents forced from their homes could think about returning.
About noon on Monday, people on Curtis Island near Gladstone were told to prepare to leave, with an unpredictable fire burning there.
Fire crews are also focused on North Stradbroke Island, off Brisbane, and on a cluster of fires on the central Queensland coast.
Wild winds and the possibility of lightning strikes from storms have North Stradbroke residents on alert, but properties are not currently under threat.
People living on neighbouring Russell and MacLeay islands are also on guard, amid warnings that flying embers could pose a threat to them.
On the mainland, crews are monitoring six significant fires burning in central Queensland. They are all in and around Deepwater, the place where the bushfire emergency began more than a week ago.
Firefighters are closely watching fires at Deepwater, Captain Creek, Baffle Creek, Rules Beach, Winfield and Lowmead, with residents warned to be ready to leave if the situation worsens.
Mr Crawford said evacuees were eager to return home but authorities had to make sure the fire threat had passed.
He also warned people could be killed in the clean-up phase, with falling trees in scorched areas a major risk.
“There’s still a lot of danger left in a lot of these places,” he said.
About 500 firefighters from interstate are still working the fire grounds, but Mr Crawford said they should all return home towards the end of the week.
“The weather is supposed to be well and truly in our favour (by then),” he said.