Residents in Captain Creek have been told to prepare to evacuate their homes as bushfires close in on the small town about 100 kilometres south of Gladstone.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advised residents on Monday morning that fires in the area are unpredictable and could change quickly. The warning comes after nearby towns Winfield, Karara and Lowmead were ordered to prepare to leave their properties at the weekend as firefighters battled to control the bushfires raging across the state.
Despite their best efforts to control the fires at the weekend, Queensland firefighters have been thwarted by searing temperatures and strong, dry winds.
The state is in for another battering this week with extreme temperatures and strong winds set to increase the severity of more than 100 fires still burning across the state.
Over the past week, 527,000 hectares of land have been destroyed as record temperatures soar across the state and dry winds fan the fires. Cairns Airport was one of the hottest spots in the sunshine state, reaching a scorching 42.6C and breaking its previous November maximum temperature record for four consecutive days.
Meanwhile Rockhampton Airport saw one of its worst days of fire danger last Wednesday, recording catastrophic conditions for approximately three and a half hours. This was the first time this district has recorded catastrophic conditions and the most prolonged event in Queensland since the implementation of the current Fire Danger Rating System in 2010.
Terrifying footage of the raging fires has been shared across social media over the last few days as smoke and fire billows across the state.
One video in particular caused a stir on Twitter with many praising the hard-working firefighters for their strength and courage in protecting the people of Queensland.
“Nothing but respect for those facing this beast,” one person commented.
Another added: “All strength to the Firies. Thank-you for what you do. You’re all amazing”.
Sadly the fire, took the life of one young man who died after being hit by a falling tree while clearing a firebreak on his family’s property south of Emerald.
According to the ABC, the 21-year-old was cutting a tree with a chainsaw when it fell and trapped him. Despite the efforts of three men who tried to save him, he died at the scene.
Although some residents have received the good news that they can return home, others in central and south Queensland are still in a state of distress with more than 160 firefighting crews continuing to battle blazes on Sunday night.
On Monday morning the main areas of concern were Deepwater and Eungella in central Queensland, Tinnanbar on the Fraser Coast, Karara, near Warwick in the state’s south and North Stradbroke Island.
Unfortunately, the many brave firefighters and residents across the state will not have much reprieve from the fires with extreme conditions for the week.
“While conditions have eased following the catastrophic fire danger ratings observed on Wednesday, severe to extreme heatwave conditions are expected to continue into next week extending into the northwest and southeast of the state,” Bureau of Meteorology State Manager for Queensland, Bruce Gunn explained.
“Daytime temperatures are expected to peak around 8-10 degrees above average in the southeast on Sunday where Severe heatwave conditions may develop in heavily populated parts in the southeast, posing a health risk to the vulnerable in the community.”
Gunn added that there are some early indictions that temperatures in central and northern Queensland may return to average by Thursday.