'A Long Way To Go': 114 Fires Still Raging Across Queensland
Residents are being warned the catastrophic bushfire emergency devastating the state will stretch into next week.
Queensland authorities are warning very high fire dangers and extreme weather conditions will continue over at least the next three to four days particularly across the central parts of the state.
Almost a week after the crisis started, authorities say 114 fires are still burning across Queensland, with several of these still being closely monitored as wind conditions are expected to change.
More than half of the active fires are currently located in the central part of the state.
On Friday Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said there was still "a long way to go."
"My key message today to all families across Queensland is to listen to your radio, watch the TV, make sure you have your phone handy because the alerts will come through as needed," she said.
Authorities have warned of "extremely dry conditions" with temperatures across much of the state expected to pass the 30 degree mark throughout the weekend.
Rockhampton, which has been ringed by major blazes, will get to 39 degrees on Friday and 42 on Monday.
It's a similar story for other major centres near fire grounds, including Mackay, which will get to 36 on Friday and Monday, with 35 expected over the weekend.
The inland town of Longreach is headed for a record-setting peak in excess of 45 degrees on Sunday.
Know Your Fire Warnings
This was the first time in history a catastrophic rating has been issued in Queensland, where some 10,000 residents were forced to flee from their homes as the fire closed in.
"We have never seen this before, it is unprecedented," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told AM Breakfast Radio on Thursday.
"We were really concerned yesterday... we had to issue an order yesterday morning because people were refusing to evacuate around that Deepwater area. We were very concerned, we put out a lot of messages ... and we had forced evacuation but this is unprecedented," she said.
The Bushfire Danger Ratings are used to give people an indication of the possible consequences of a fire, if one were to start.
It is not an indication of how likely it is a bushfire will occur.
The higher the Fire Danger Rating, the bigger the risk.
"Catastrophic is the worst of the worst conditions," NSW RFS spokesperson Chris Garlick told 10 daily.
"A Fire Danger Rating is issued by the Bureau of Meteorology from low moderate, high, very high, severe and all the way through to extreme and catastrophic," he said.
Homes are not designed or constructed to withstand catastrophic fire conditions, according to the Country Fire Authority.
This level of fire is also incredibly difficult to control and requires a large number of resources to manage.
With a catastrophic blaze, leaving the vicinity of the fire is considered the ONLY option if people want to survive.
"It all came out of the Black Saturday fires in Victoria and they did a little revamp for the Fire Danger Rating," Garlick said.
"They base the catastrophic rating on a whole bunch of factors including temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction and they are formulated by the Bureau and put out according to the weather."
What To Do Rating-By-Rating
CATASTROPHIC: Leaving is the only option for survival. It is recommended people leave the bushfire area the night before the blaze hits or in the early hours of the morning as houses are not designed to withstand this rating of fire, so leaving early is ideal.
EXTREME: Leaving as early as possible is the best option for survival. Unless residents are prepared to the highest level, leaving early in the day is recommended. Staying at home is only suggested if a house is specially reinforced or designed to withstand a fire.
SEVERE: Leaving as early as possible is the best option for survival. Homes that are well prepared and properly defended can provide safety to people who stay. It is only recommended people stay if they are physically and mentally capable of defending their homes. If residents are not prepared, it is still recommended they leave early in the day. This rating is also where total fire bans come into place.
VERY HIGH/HIGH/LOW MODERATE: These three differ only slightly weather-wise however, the recommended way to respond them is the same. People are told to review their bushfire safety plans with their families and friends. It is also recommend to listen to the news and stay informed of the conditions so action can be taken if necessary.
Featured Image: Getty Images.
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