Australia Queensland fires see thousands of residents spend the night in evacuation centres as focus shifts north
Queensland fire threat to lower on Saturday but fires still burning
After a scorching day with tinderbox conditions in south-east Queensland on Friday, temperatures were expected to ease on Saturday.Hot, dry and gusty west-to-south-westerly winds combined with temperatures 10 degrees above average on Friday to create tinderbox conditions in which more than 50 fires burned across the state.
Thousands of Sunshine Coast residents have spent the night in evacuation centres as firefighters battled an out-of-control blaze at Cooroibah, in the Noosa Shire.
There are currently eight fires burning across Queensland — two are at an emergency level.
Megan Stifler, the assistant fire commissioner for fire and rescue, said the Jimna and Cooroibah areas remained the most challenging overnight for firefighters.
NSW residents flee 'horrifying' bushfires
Thousands of residents have taken refuge from "horrifying" fires in the NSW mid-north coast region while others stay and attempt to protect their homes.Emergency warnings were in place for fires at Hillville south of Taree and nearby Crowdy Bay National Park on Saturday evening with the local mayor describing the firestorm as "a disaster of magnificent proportions".
"We have a strong northerly wind blowing through that Cooroibah area and mixing with winds off the ocean is making it very volatile," Ms Stifler said last night.
She said the focus today was shifting north of the state but added that any fires that had started yesterday and overnight were likely to continue for several days.
Two properties were believed to have been lost as at 6:30pm in Cooroibah, but authorities cautioned it would take some time to assess the extent of the damage.
"We have had two structures damaged or destroyed by fire. We haven't been able to clarify complete destruction or otherwise," Senior Sergeant Steve Hall said.
"We're unsure if they are homes or outhouses at his point in time. We're in the process of assessing the damage and we have officers on scene gathering that information."
Queensland fires see State of Emergency declared across 42 areas as residents wait to return home
Authorities declare a State of Fire Emergency across 42 local government areas in Queensland, with dangerous conditions expected to continue into next week as some residents begin to return home to survey the damage.The State of Fire Emergency prohibits the lighting of all types of outdoor fires and bans certain activities that can cause fires to ignite.
Sergeant Hall said people had also been asked to evacuate Tewantin — which has only two roads in and out — as a precaution.
To make the already-tough conditions harder for authorities, Sergeant Hall said there was no electricity at Cooroibah because of damage to electrical infrastructure.
Four crisis-accommodation centres were opened and Sergeant Hall said special arrangements were being made for the region's elderly population.
Rob and Gina Brewster were among the many people who evacuated their homes near Tewantin.
"We noticed smoke was closer than normal so we actually went for a drive and went down to Lake Cooroibah and had a look at it and went, 'That's pretty big'," Mr Brewster said.
"We went back to the home, actually did some work, then we got a call and a text message [to leave] and thought, 'We'd better do the right thing' and grabbed a few things."
Ms Brewster added: "Originally it looked like it was about a kilometre away and then as we drove it just got so dark.
"It was very eerie actually and as we turned right there were flames on the left."
The Bureau of Meteorology said an elevated fire danger persisted over eastern Queensland today with a severe fire danger over most of the southern tropics and Wide Bay and Burnett.
A very high fire danger stays in place over the remaining eastern and northern areas.
A local fire ban is in place for Ipswich, Somerset, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim, Logan and Gold Coast local government areas.
Qld in grips of bushfire disaster and conditions to deteriorate in NSW .
With Queensland in the grips of the bushfire disaster, residents across New South Wales are being warned not to become complacent as fire conditions deteriorate this week. With Queensland in the grips of the bushfire disaster, residents across New South Wales are being warned not to become complacent as fire con The NSW Rural Fire Service warned temperatures could climb into the 40s – creating severe fire danger ratings for a second consecutive week.
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