Hundreds evacuate from Queensland wildfires during “unprecedented” conditions

The state has had unusually severe fire weather and more is in the forecast for the rest of this week

Queensland, Australia satellite photo smoke wildfires
Satellite photo of Queensland, Australia, showing smoke from wildfires. Photo taken at 0600z Nov. 26, 2018.

(UPDATED at 8 a.m. PST November 27, 2018)

The siege of wildfires in Queensland, Australia continues with approximately 80 blazes burning across the state. This is normally the wet season there, but unprecedented warm, dry, windy weather has set up conditions ripe for large, rapidly spreading fires.

At least two are forcing evacuations. Below is information provided by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services:

  • LEAVE NOW: Dalrymple Heights bushfire as at 12am Wed 28 Nov.Currently, as at 12am Wednesday 28 November, a large fast-moving fire is travelling in a south westerly direction towards Dalrymple Heights. It is currently impacting Snake Road and Chelmans Road. The fire could have a significant impact on the community. Fire crews are working to protect properties along Snake Road and Chelmans Road but firefighters may not be able to protect every property. You should not expect a firefighter at your door. Power, water, and mobile phone service may be lost.
  • LEAVE IMMEDIATELY: Deepwater, Baffle Creek, Rules Beach, Oyster Creek – bushfire as at 11.40pm Tues 27 Nov.Currently at 11.40pm Tuesday 27 November, an extremely large and intense fire is traveling in a south-westerly direction towards Muller Road. It is expected to impact Baffle Creek, Rules Beach and Oyster Creek in the coming hours. The fire is expected to have a significant impact on the community. All Deepwater, Baffle Creek, Rules Beach and Oyster Creek residents should evacuate in a westerly direction towards Miriam Vale using Tableland Road and Fingerboard Road. The crossing at Hills Road, Coast Road and Oyster Creek Road, Baffle Creek was under threat, but firefighters have managed to prevent the fire spreading to the crossing at this time.

(Originally published at 11:41 a.m. PST November 26, 2018)

map wildfires Queensland Australia
The red dots represent heat detected in Australia by a satellite November 26, 2018.

Hundreds of residents have evacuated their homes in northeast Australia in the state of Queensland due to large wildfires. On Monday fire officials said a fire near Deepwater had burned 17,000 hectares (42,000 acres) and had a fire front 60 kilometers (37 miles)long.

map wildfires Queensland Australia
Smoke from wildfires in Queensland, Australia photographed by a satellite November 26, 2018.

State Emergency Service volunteers have been knocking on doors to tell people to leave their homes in Deepwater, Baffle Creek, Rules Beach, and Oyster Creek.

The bushfire in the Deepwater area of Queensland. QF&E photo.

At 6:50 p.m. local time November 26, the dangerous and unpredictable fire was spreading in a south, south-west direction from Capricornia Drive and Pacific Drive at Deepwater towards Baffle Creek, Rules Beach and Oyster Creek. At that time it was impacting the Deepwater community and was expected to begin impacting Baffle Creek, Rules Beach and Oyster Creek in a few hours.

This is normally the wet season in Queensland, unlike areas farther south in New South Wales and Victoria.

“The central Queensland fire situation is unprecedented for its ferocity, the low humidity, the extreme heat and variable winds”, Annastacia Palaszczuk, the Premier of Queensland said. “Other fires and heat waves are a threat in other parts of our state.”

The temperature for the rest of this week at Baffle Creek, one of the areas being evacuated, will be about 10 degrees F (6 degrees C) warmer than normal for the date, ranging from 88 to 95 F (31 to 35 C), along with wind speeds exceeding 10 mph mostly out of the northeast.

“In this part of the world we have not experienced these conditions before,” Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Katarina Carroll said on Monday. “It is unprecedented.”

For the first time a large air tanker is being used in Queensland. The 737 under contract with the New South Wales Rural Fire Service is helping out.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

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