Residents of Queensland’s Scenic Rim, south-west of Brisbane, were urged to leave ahead of a fast-moving bushfire in dire conditions on Wednesday afternoon.
The state’s firefighters were also battling blazes near Canungra, in the Gold Coast hinterland, as Queensland endured the first of three days of severe bushfire conditions.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Service said Frazerview residents should evacuate east, towards Kalbar.
The blaze was heading north from Horan Road, Parsons Gate Road and Radunz Road. Authorities said it was expected to affect the area north of Parsons Gate Road.
PREPARE TO LEAVE: Sarabah (south of Canungra) bushfire as at 10am Wed 4 Sept: https://t.co/01Jovbk6Jo
— Qld Fire & Emergency (@QldFES) September 4, 2019
Meanwhile, near Canungra, firefighters were fighting a blaze in rugged country, amid concerns conditions were getting worse with unusually hot temperatures and low humidity.
Aerial water bombers have been brought in to help fight the Canungra fire, which has come close to homes in some places.
Rural Fire Service spokesman Alan Gillespie told the ABC conditions were likely to worsen and people should make plans to defend their properties or leave.
“This afternoon is going to the pinch point for us,” he said.
“It’s burning in really rugged ranges in the Darlington Range area, access is very difficult. We are planning for the worst and hoping for the best.
Mr Gillespie said humidity in the region was at the lowest it had ever been recorded.
A severe fire weather warning covered most of south-east Queensland on Wednesday, and will remain in place until midday Friday. The Bureau of Meteorology warned of severe fire conditions as a high-pressure system pushed hot and dry winds across the region.
Over the border in NSW, similar conditions led authorities to declare total fire bans for Thursday for New England, the Northern Slopes and the state’s north-western region.
Total fire bans declared for New England, Northern Slopes & North Western areas for Thurs 5 Sept 2019, due to hot & windy conditions. Make sure you have a bush fire survival plan & know what you will do, where you'll go & what you will take, in the event a fire threatens. #nswrfs pic.twitter.com/IxtWRrKM9c
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) September 4, 2019
In total, 24 fires were burning across Queensland on Wednesday, including near Mareeba, Yeppoon and Rockhampton. But firefighters said homes were not under threat.
The fires were being monitored and contained by 48 firefighting units.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services acting commissioner Mike Wassing said the Northern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook had reported an increased likelihood of warmer and dryer conditions this season.
“As it stands right now, however, upcoming conditions do not look the same as they did during the 2018-19 season. But we can’t afford to rest on our laurels,” he said.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services minister Craig Crawford said last year’s bushfires were unprecedented, and still fresh in the minds of many residents.
“The numbers are still confronting: four million hectares of land burnt, 2611 fires and 1984 bushfire community warnings issued,” Mr Crawford said.
“In the past financial year, we put 119 brand new rural fire trucks on Queensland’s roads and I can’t urge residents enough to be on alert and stay informed as fire activity increases.”