Queensland’s emergency services have issued an alert for residents in and around Fraser Island’s Happy Valley to leave immediately as a blaze in the national park closes in within 700 metres of the township.
Amid continued high temperatures and minimal rainfall in recent weeks, the fire, which started in October, has burnt more than 80,000 hectares almost half the island.
In a QFES warning issued at 8am (AEST), leaving immediately was the
“safest option as it will soon be too dangerous to drive”.
“Any persons in the vicinity of Happy Valley township should leave the area heading to the Eastern Beach and head south to Eurong Resort,” the warning read.
A large air tanker from the NSW Rural Fire Service was heading north on Monday to join waterbombing efforts.
The bushfire warning was raised to emergency level late on Sunday and the 50-plus residents have been helping firefighters to put out the blaze but QFES said the fire was expected to significantly impact the Happy Valley community. Anyone in the area should “leave immediately”.
“Any persons in the vicinity of Happy Valley township should leave the area heading to the Eastern Beach and head south to Eurong Resort.” QFES said.
The ABC is reporting that dozens of residents have evacuated.
The QFES spokesperson said about 50 people remained in the area affected by the blaze.
“Conditions are now very dangerous and firefighters may soon be unable to prevent the fire advancing.
“The fire may pose a threat to all lives directly in its path. Fire crews may not be able to protect your property. You should not expect a firefighter at your door: act now.”
Power, water and mobile phone services might be lost and road conditions could become dangerous.
The warning said those in the area would be affected by smoke, which would reduce visibility and air quality.
The bushfires were sparked by an illegal campfire on October 14 and have destroyed at least 82,500 hectares of the national park – about half the area of the island.
The fire continues to burn on multiple fronts.
About 100 specialist firefighters are on the ground.
They are being supported by fixed-wing bombers, heli-attack bombers, air attack platforms, an air observation platform, a large aerial tanker and an LAT lead plane.
Fraser Island is about 250 kilometres north of Brisbane and covers 181,851 hectares.