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Emergency bushfire forces evacuations

tara western downs emergency fire
By 8pm the fire was at a watch and act alert, with evacuated residents told it was not safe to return home. Picture: QFES

Evacuated residents near Tara, in Queensland’s Western Downs, have been told it’s not safe to return as a bushfire rages in the area.

Tara residents were told to prepare to leave about 3.30pm Saturday as the blaze, burning near Winfield Rd, was upgraded to a watch and act.

Authorities had been watching it since it broke out earlier in the afternoon, issuing an advice.

tara western downs emergency fire
By 8pm the fire was at a watch and act alert, with evacuated residents told it was not safe to return home. Picture: QFES

An emergency warning was issued just after 5pm, with residents between Mary Rd, Bennett School Rd, Orchid Rd, Tomalou Ln, and Robbos Rd urged to “leave immediately,” as it would soon be “too dangerous to drive.”

It was downgraded back to a watch and act about 6.20pm, but residents who had fled were warned they couldn’t go back home.
“The fire near Mary Road is still burning,” read an alert from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES).

“It is travelling towards Robbos Road. If you left the area, it is not safe to return.”

An evacuation centre was set-up at the Tara Customer Service Centre, located at 19 Fry Street, Tara, where some residents will need to spend the night.

“It will be hot and loud. You may hear explosions nearby,” the alert urged evacuees.

“The sky will be dark. You could be isolated.”

Firefighters continue working to contain the blaze.

Residents are urged to keep up-to-date with the situation on the QFES website, following them on social media, or listening to local radio stations.

Tara is a rural community about 300km west of Brisbane.