Queensland experiences “catastrophic” wildfire danger for the first time

Deepwater Fire Queensland
Firefighters battle the wildfire near Deepwater in Queensland. F&ES photo.

Firefighters and residents of Queensland in northeast Australia are figuring out how to deal with unprecedented conditions — 135 wildfires all burning at the same time during very hot, windy conditions. Fire officials have elevated the fire danger to a level previously unseen in the state, “catastrophic”. Evacuations are underway in several communities.

Queensland fire danger
The Queensland Bureau of Meteorology wrote in their tweet with this image: “Fire ? Danger Ratings have reached Catastrophic for the first time in #Queensland due to the combination of a very dry, hot airmass and strong, gusty westerly winds. Follow the advice of @QldFES during these extremely challenging fire weather conditions.

This is supposed to be the wet season in Queensland.

Katarin Carroll, Commissioner of Queensland F&ES
Katarin Carroll, Commissioner of Queensland F&ES at briefing November 26, 2018.

In a public briefing Wednesday evening, Katarin Carroll, Commissioner of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, said they saw this coming and began ordering additional firefighting resources from New South Wales and other states last week. The forecast calls for the extraordinarily hot and dry weather to continue in Queensland through Tuesday, December 4. Meanwhile farther south, New South Wales is receiving large quantities of rain, causing flooding in some areas.

This is normally the dry season in NSW.

In the video below Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier of Queensland, begins the November 26 evening briefing about the fire situation, followed by Commissioner Carroll.

Wildfires are affecting a number of areas in Queensland, including Campwin Beach, Sarina Beach, Deepwater, Baffle Creek, Rules Beach, Oyster Creek, Caloundra, Gracemere, Eungella, and Kowari Gorge.

Fires Queensland satellite photo
Satellite photo of smoke from the fires in Queensland, Australia, November 26, 2018. Since then clouds have made it difficult to obtain a good image of the area. NASA

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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.

One thought on “Queensland experiences “catastrophic” wildfire danger for the first time”

  1. arent there more heavy tankers?.like the P3s,several Bae 146/RJ85’s and Canadian convairs..i know transporting some SEATS wouldnt be a good idea,,but man,they should do some sort of emergency legislation of some sort.get more ac..yeah smoke would be an issue..but get em there so they can be some good when possible.


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