Bushfires rage across southern Queensland, residents told to immediately leave Binna Burra and Applethorpe, too late to leave Stanthorpe

| 07.09,19. 03:17 AM |




Bushfires rage across southern Queensland, residents told to immediately leave Binna Burra and Applethorpe, too late to leave Stanthorpe



Photo: A large bushfire is threatening Stanthorpe. (Supplied: Emmy Jayne)


Emergency warnings have been issued for out-of-control bushfires in southern Queensland as more than 50 fires burn across the state amid potentially catastrophic, hot and windy conditions.
At Stanthorpe, on the Granite Belt, people have been told it is too late to leave as a "very dangerous" fire moves east towards the town, while in nearby Applethorpe, an emergency warning has also been issued with residents urged to leave immediately.
Authorities at 12:45am said a bushfire was approaching The Summit, Thulimbah, Cottonvale and Dalveen from Applethorpe.
One of the warnings was for a fire burning at Binna Burra, south of Canungra in the Gold Coast Hinterland, though this was listed as a watch-and-act at 11:10pm AEST.
One home has been destroyed, others are under threat, and residents of Binna Burra and Beechmont were told to evacuate.
An earlier emergency warning for residents to evacuate Sarabah has been changed to a watch and act, with the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) allowing residents to return to their homes, but authorities warn a bushfire is still burning and could get worse quickly.
Meanwhile, south of the Queensland border, at least two houses have been lost in Tenterfield in northern NSW and a firefighter has suffered facial injuries as an out-of-control fire is fuelled by strong winds.
'Mountain lit up like lava' as fire races through forests near Binna Burra
In the Gold Coast Hinterland, the QFES said a number of blazes were burning in mountainous terrain south of Canungra through the Lamington National Park.
Watch and act warnings were issued shortly after midnight for a number of blazes travelling rapidly through the national park, expecting to impact Springbrook, Witheren and Numinbah Valley
As at 9:00pm on Friday, the fire was burning between MacKenzie Road and Binna Burra Road, south of Beechmont Road, travelling in a southerly direction towards Binna Burra.
Binna Burra Road is currently closed.
Staff and guests at the Binna Burra resort in the Lamington rainforest were evacuated earlier on Friday afternoon.
Authorities said firefighters may be unable to prevent the fire advancing and the fire may pose a threat to all lives directly in its path
Belinda Pearl evacuated from her home on the edge of Canungra earlier on Friday.
"I walked right up the back and I could actually see that there was fire on the property," she said.
"When we drove out we just saw the whole mountain lit up like lava coming down the mountain.
Rural Fire Service spokesman Alan Gillespie said the situation had "deteriorated significantly" during Friday afternoon.
"We have a very dangerous fire — it is spotting 200 metres ahead of itself so we have taken the action of telling people to leave the area immediately," he said.
"We do have firefighters in the area, we do have firefighting aircraft in the area, but I can confirm we have already lost one house and we have a number of others that are under direct threat."
People can take refuge at Tamborine Village Memorial Hall at 2720 Waterford-Tamborine Road.
The area will be affected by smoke, which reduces visibility and air quality.

'Too late to leave' in Stanthorpe
QFES said people in the path of the Stanthorpe fire were in imminent danger and needed to seek shelter to survive.
"Do not attempt to leave the area. Driving now would be extremely dangerous and potentially deadly. If you are not in the area, do not return," a QFES statement said.
"Conditions are now very dangerous and firefighters are unable to prevent the fire advancing."
An emergency warning was issued at 10:40pm for the Applethorpe bushfire approaching along the New England Highway, with residents told leaving immediately was the safest option as it would soon be too dangerous to drive.
Police have marked out a declared zone around Stanthorpe and Applethorpe, urging people not to enter it and avoid any travel unless directed by emergency services.
The zone is bounded by Cannon Creek Road, Bamberry Road, Donnelly Castle Road, the New England Highway, Dalcouth Road, Sugarloaf Road and Hale Haven Drive.
As at 8:30pm, QFES said the fire was impacting Glenlyon Drive, Amiens Road and the New England Highway, travelling in an easterly direction towards Nelson Crescent, McLeod Court and Michelle Road in Happy Valley.
QFES said the blaze was expected to impact Nelson Crescent, McLeod Court and Michelle Road in Happy Valley.
It said the New England Highway is closed north and south of Stanthorpe.
QFES Acting Deputy Commissioner Neil Gallant said the direct threat to residents in close vicinity to the blaze near Stanthorpe had been minimised.
"The fire itself is not impacting the township — embers are — as it's spotting over, so what we've done is evacuate about 50 or 60 people from an area right on the fringe there that was getting a lot of ember attack," he said.
"The crews have been quite successful in patrolling that area, extinguishing any spot fires."
Power has been lost in the Stanthorpe township and Ergon are assessing the situation.
An evacuation centre has been set up at the Stanthorpe fitness centre in Talc Street, however QFES said driving now would be extremely dangerous.
Mayor Tracy Dobie asked residents to follow the advice from QFES and said planes and fire trucks were fighting the blaze.
QFES said people would be affected by thick smoke and embers, which reduce visibility and air quality.
It said as the fire approached, it would become difficult to see, hear, and breathe and people would experience intense heat, darkness, and loud noise.

'No chance' of rain
Dam water levels are so low in Stanthorpe, that water could run out by December if it does not rain in the drought-ravaged Granite Belt.
Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecaster Jonty Hall said the fires would remain difficult to control, with dry and windy conditions expected to continue on Saturday.
"A little bit of respite but certainly not as much as we would ideally like," he said.
"Getting some rainfall would be the best thing, but unfortunately there's no chance of that whatsoever — not only in the short term but really over the next few days."
BOM senior forecaster Michael Knepp said earlier on Friday the state was as dry as he had seen it in more than a decade.
"It's quite unbelievable — I've never seen that in my 12 years I've been working with the bureau in Queensland," Mr Knepp said.
"So no chance of any rain for the foreseeable future, and that's actually the whole state."
QFES also advised residents of a bushfire in Hawkwood late on Friday night.

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