Qld bushfire latest: Emergency warning issued at Ravensbourne as conditions worsen
Photo: Rural firefighters fight at Spicers Gap, south west of Brisbane. (AAP: Darren England)
An emergency warning has been issued for residents of Pechey and Ravensbourne, north of Toowoomba, to leave immediately as a fast-moving fire heads towards the town.
Authorities warn the fire, that has been burning for days at Pechey, is approaching Ravensbourne.
Fire crews and water-bombing aircraft are working to contain the fire but firefighters may not be able to stop it, QFES said.
Authorities said it is likely to impact Purtill Road, Garvey Road, Ravensbourne Tip Road, Mount Jockey Road and McQuillan Road.
People leaving the area should head south-west along Esk-Hampton Road towards Toowoomba.
"The fire may pose a threat to all lives directly in its path," it warned.
It comes as authorities are brace for the fire threat to again intensify in parts of Queensland, with the warmer weather expected to persist over the weekend.
More than 61 fires are burning in the state, including a large, slow-moving bushfire at Black Snake, in the Gympie region.
That community has been told to prepare to leave. The township of Woodgate, south of Bundaberg, has a warning to leave now.
Some people who had been trapped for days, after the one road into Woodgate was cut, were allowed back into the town temporarily under police escort overnight.
Queensland Fire and Rescue Services' (QFES) Wayne Waltisbuhl said a lot of work would be done today to strengthen the control lines of fires on the Scenic Rim.
"It's contained but we need to have a lot of people on those lines, there's kilometres of fire perimeter to patrol and make sure we've got everything extinguished."
Richard Wardle from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said today was expected to bring warmer conditions, stoking severe fire danger in the Darling Downs and Granite Belt until at least Sunday, and very high fire danger in the state's south-east.
"The temperatures in some locations will be more than 6 degrees above average for this time of year," he said."The fire danger rating will stay very high or severe because of the temperatures."
He also warned of isolated and potentially severe storms over the weekend, but said the rainfall was tipped to be minimal, meaning there likely would not be "any reprieve for ongoing fires".
"The main story with these storms could be the dry lightning, potentially igniting further fires," he said.
Low-intensity heatwave conditions are also forecast for areas including the south-east and the Darling Downs from today, before the system spreads to the Gulf of the Carpentaria early next week.
The BOM has released its outlook for the rest of November and December, pointing towards warmer and drier-than-average conditions.
Senior climatologist Lynette Bettio said "above-average daytime temperatures" would be felt across much of Australia.
"This really does increase the chance of an early season heatwave, like we're currently seeing in northern parts of Australia," she said.
"Any days with strong winds will again set the stage for dangerous bushfire weather."
Yesterday a 16-year-old was charged with starting a fire in central Queensland that destroyed 14 homes.
QFES assistant commissioner Tony Johnstone said crews would be focussed on fighting fires and protecting their community.
"It will be a couple of days when the crew actually think about it," he said.
"I'm sure a lot of them are astonished that people do those things to destroy others' livelihoods."
Meanwhile, Noosa North Shore residents were yesterday allowed to return home after being evacuated for the second time in less than a week.
The smell of burning eucalyptus wafted over the area and the heat could still be felt coming from the ground.
A Rural Fire Service chief said yesterday there was little doubt the blaze was deliberately lit.
With the fire now well under control, station officer Robert Rafferty said attention had turned towards the weekend, with lightning predicted to hit the area on Saturday.
"The message would be to be vigilant, look out for any smouldering logs and things that may still be burning undetected," Mr Rafferty said.
After a long start to the bushfire season already, Mr Rafferty said exhaustion had started to set in.
"With the ongoing campaigns in New South Wales and Western Australia, we are struggling to maintain fresh crews.