Queensland Fires Flare As Winds Pick Up
Residents west of Brisbane are in for a sleepless night after being told to evacuate due to two large out of control bushfires bearing down on rural communities in the Scenic Rim and Darling Downs.
An emergency warning has been issued for a blaze at Ravensbourne and Esk, near Toowoomba, which is part of the Pechey fire responsible for blackening 4200 hectares in the past five days.
Toowoomba mayor Paul Antonio says the situation has deteriorated drastically despite a large Boeing 737 air tanker capable of dumping 15,000 litres in one go, joining the fight.
"This is a very difficult situation ... The wind (at my farm) is strong enough to rock my car," he told AAP on Sunday.
"It's looking very bleak."
The Ravensbourne fire, which is advancing to the north, east and southeast, extends along Perseverance Dam, Mount Jockey, Horrex, Garvey, Purtill and McQuillan roads.
Mr Antonio said about 200 firefighters and 16 aircraft were battling the blaze along a 38 km front.
About 100 kilometres south, residents at Tarome were also told on Sunday night an unpredictable fire was heading east towards them and they needed to leave.
The order affected those in Ryan, Hinrichsen, Simmonds, Campsite and McGuire roads.
Across the state, 92 fires are burning but those of most concern are the ones at Pechey, north of Toowoomba, and Moreton Island, off Brisbane, along with those in the Scenic Rim at Mt Barney, Clumber and Tarome.
Moreton Island campers were told to evacuate ahead of an expected wind change with the potential to render the blaze unpredictable during Sunday evening.
Emergency services warned campsites could be threatened before nightfall.
Earlier, severe thunderstorms dumped rain and hailstones north of Brisbane but had little impact on the fires to the south, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
Hail the size of cricket balls was reported in the Glasshouse Mountains in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, meteorologist Rosa Hoff said.
However strong winds had been detected, with gusts of 59km/h recorded at Toowoomba and 48km/h at Stanthorpe.
Earlier, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services' Acting Inspector John Welke warned there may be times when firefighters wouldn't be able to get in front of the Ravensbourne fire.
Crews may be pulled back from the front to only protect homes and property for their own safety, he said.
The situation was long from over and the fire in that region could continue for another week.
Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen fears only rain will bring a reprieve but there is little forecast.
"Everyone needs to be on their toes," he said.
"At the moment these fires will still be running next weekend."