'This Is An Omen': Fire Chief Warns QLD As Dozens Of Blazes Still Burn
Queensland is in uncharted territory as crews battle to get the upper hand in the worst start to the fire season on record.
More than 50 fires are burning across Queensland, the most dangerous in the Gold Coast hinterland where it has destroyed homes and the heritage-listed Binna Burra Lodge.
One of the oldest nature-based resorts in Australia, which dates back to the 1930s, now lies in ruins.
Its smouldering ruins are surrounded by the blackened remnants of what used to be lush rainforest in the Lamington National Park, west of the Gold Coast.
The fire remains out of control, and is burning towards the community of Numinbah Valley, northeast of Binna Burra.
Water bombers are being used to subdue the blaze as ground crews desperately try to get on top of the fire which has so far consumed 11 homes.
Locals have been warned more properties could go, and livestock losses are expected to be significant.
But there has been some good news for residents further inland, in the Queensland border towns of Stanthorpe and Applethorpe where another major fire has destroyed three homes and other property.
That blaze is now finally burning within containment lines, with crews to work through the night in a desperate push to strengthen them so the fire doesn't get away again.
Crews have also managed to contain a fire that broke out at Linville, in the Somerset Region inland from the Sunshine Coast, on Sunday.
Residents had earlier been told to leave if they did not have a bushfire survival plan. Current advice is to stay informed in case the situation worsens.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services predictive services inspector Andrew Sturgess said the state had never before seen such serious bushfire conditions, so early in spring.
"So this is an omen, if you will, a warning of the fire season that we are likely to see in southeastern parts of the state where most of the population is," he said on Sunday.
Acting Premier Jackie Trad said climate change meant the state was facing a new era of fire risks.
"There is no doubt that with an increasing temperature with climate change, then what the scientists tell us is that events such as these will be more frequent and they will be much more ferocious," she told reporters.
Fire authorities have warned the danger posed by the Binna Burra fire will not be over for days, with strong winds expected to persist until Tuesday.
"We're still very much in defensive mode," Queensland Fire and Emergency Services assistant commissioner Kevin Walsh said on Sunday.
It's not safe for some people to go home but one man who has says the landscape now looks otherworldly.
"We have bits of charred mountain all around us. It's a bit surreal," Jason Nelson told AAP after going home to Witheron, south of Canungra.
Stanthorpe woman Samantha Wantling says the tension in the town is palpable, despite the news that fire crews have contained the blaze near the town.
She says locals are used to bushfires, but the speed of the one that hit on Friday night and how close it came to the heart of the town was terrifying.
She is fearful about the months that lie ahead, given the severity of the drought on the Granite Belt.
Dams and water tanks on rural properties are empty. Stanthorpe itself is subject to emergency water restrictions of 100 litres per person per day, with the supply not expected to last until the end of the year.
After that the council will have to truck water in.
"We need rain. That's the only thing that's going to save us."