Queen Elizabeth II may be all the way over in the UK, but she’s let Australians impacted by the devastating fires in Queensland know that they are in her and Prince Philip’s thoughts with a moving message.
On Tuesday morning, Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland, and Premier of Queensland Annastacia Palaszczuk shared a special message on Twitter on behalf of The Queen, as she praised the “true Australian spirit” amid the disaster.
“Prince Philip and I are saddened to hear of the unprecedented fires impacting so many people in Queensland,” the message read. “I pay tribute to the commitment and dedication of the firefighters, other emergency services personnel, and the volunteers who are working tirelessly to contain the fires.
“In true Australian spirit, it is heartening to know other States and Territories are working alongside Queensland in support of their relief effort. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this difficult time.”
Residents across parts of Queensland were told on Monday to leave their homes and properties as “catastrophic” fires continue to ravish parts of the state.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advised Captain Creek residents on Monday morning that fires in the area are unpredictable and could change quickly. The warning came 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, firefighters have been thwarted by searing temperatures and strong, dry winds.
Queensland 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. More than 527,000 hectares of land have been destroyed over the past week 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.
Terrified residents have been sharing footage of the fires across social media, with one calling the fires “catastrophic” and “truly scary”.
“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.”