Young Boys Charged Over Lighting Queensland Fire
Three young boys who allegedly lit a fire on the Gold Coast amid widespread Queensland bushfires at the weekend have been caught by police and will face court.
A member of the public found a fire, which did not spread to bushland, in a storm water drain in the suburb of Pimpama on Saturday afternoon.
Three boys, aged nine, 10 and 11, were arrested, and the two eldest will be dealt with under the Youth Justice Act.
Elsewhere in Queensland, there are more than 80 other fires still burning across the state.
Residents living around the small Queensland town of Ballandean are being told to evacuate as worsening conditions fuel yet another fire in the Granite Belt.
The blaze is moving in an easterly direction from the New England Highway towards Girraween and is expected to impact Rees Road, Eukey Road and Pyramids Road.
An evacuation centre is open at the Ballandean Hall and Sports Club.
Ballandean is south of the border town of Stanthorpe, where crews have contained a fire that has so far burnt through about 2000 hectares of land.
That blaze is not threatening any homes but residents have been warned that strong winds are still making conditions volatile.
"But again it's a very well resourced fire, and we are confident we will be able to hold that, and if there are any outbreaks we will be able to get onto those very quickly," Acting Fire Commissioner Mike Wassing said.
An exclusion zone remains in place, but some residents are starting to return to their homes to check the extent of the damage, with at least eight structures including three homes have been destroyed there.
The federal and state governments have promised assistance to those affected by the fires, including replenishing already dangerously low-water supplies used to fight fires around Stanthorpe.
Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said on Monday the emergency is far from over, as firefighters battle 83 fires.
"I think we are through the worst of it, but we still have a couple of days to go before it really starts to cool down," he said.
Fire bans remain in place across most of the state, which is tinder-dry.
On Monday the Gold Coast hinterland fire was burning on both sides of Binna Burra Rd, south of Summerville Rd.
Locals forced to flee their homes to escape the Binna Burra inferno have been allowed back into the area to assess the damage.
They have been forewarned about the destruction they could face after 11 properties were obliterated in the Binna Burra and Sarabah fires.
Authorities say the Sarabah blaze has burnt through 3600 hectares.
Other property owners have been told they can check on their pets and collect medication.
The RSPCA has sent a vet to the Gold Coast to assess injured livestock, and the community is arranging fodder drops.
Officials have declared a total of 20 properties have been completely destroyed by fires across the state, and another 27 have been damaged, including the historic Binna Burra Lodge in the Gold Coast hinterland.
One far north Queensland home was burnt down last week, and fires are now burning north of Rockhampton, another near Gympie and one west of Toowoomba, but no homes are under threat in those areas.
The Insurance Council of Australia has also declared the situation a "catastrophe", ensuring victims' claims will be given priority.