Vast areas of Queensland and NSW continue to be under threat of early season bushfires, that have claimed two lives this week, with warnings in place for the weekend.
Dozens of fires are still active across Queensland as the state is hit by some of the worst blazes in 40 years.
Mount Isa residents were warned to leave their homes on Friday morning as an emergency warning was put in place just before 5am for a fire near Lake Moondarra.
“Leave immediately. Your life could be at risk,” Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) told residents.
“It will soon be too dangerous to drive.”
The fire, which affects Moondrra Drive, Barramundi Way, and The Junction, was downgraded to a watch and act at 7am.
However, residents have been warned that it is still not safe to return, as the fire is still burning and “could quickly get worse”.
“Firefighters are working to contain the fire. Firefighting aircraft are helping ground crews,” QFES warned.
The fires raging in Queensland have killed two people, with a man dying on Tuesday while trying to protect his property in Tara and a woman suffering a cardiac arrest while trying to evacuate on Wednesday.
The blazes in the area are still burning out of control, with multiple watch and act warnings in place for several fires.
In Kogan, residents have been urged to prepare to leave due to a “large, fast-moving fire” near Joseph Rd that is travelling towards Wieambilla Rd and The Wallaby Track.
Residents between Chinchilla Tara Rd, Kogan Condamine Rd, Tara Kogan Rd and Weitzels Rd have been urged to follow their bushfire survival plan and to not expect a firefighter at their door to warn them to evacuate.
Similar warnings are also in place in nearby Tara, where a fire is still near burning near Tomalou Lane and Mary Rd.
Those who evacuated from properties between Chinchilla Tara Rd, West Valley Rd and Tara Kogan Rd have been warned that it is not safe to return due to the fire, which is still burning out of control.
Extreme fire danger is expected in the area throughout Friday, but authorities are hoping to establish containment lines.
Firefighter Superintendent Wayne Waltisbuhl described the Tara fire as having some of the “worst conditions” he had seen in 43 years on the job.
“We’ve seen fire behaviour at night-time that (caused) some really good and experienced firefighters last night to ring up and go ‘we’ve never seen this sort of fire behaviour at night’,” he said.
Superintendent Waltisbuhl said several years of wet weather, followed by a period of drought, had created difficult conditions.
“We’ve got this ladder fuel combination of grasses on the ground, linking up to middle strata and then right up to the canopy,” he said.
“There were 20m flames coming out on the top of the forest out there and spotting into people’s yards and fires start straight away.”
South of the border in NSW, and firefighters there are battling more than 90 blazes, many of them in the state’s northeast.
“More than 90 fires are still burning around the state with over 600 firefighters and incident management personnel working to contain them,” the NSW Rural Fire Service’s official X account posted on Friday afternoon.
“Challenging terrain can hamper efforts to combat fires, however the RFS continue to employ a range of tactics to reduce their impact.”
More than 90 fires are still burning around the state with over 600 firefighters and incident management personnel working to contain them. Challenging terrain can hamper efforts to combat fires, however the #RFS continue to employ a range of tactics to reduce their impact. pic.twitter.com/XqgnsLiyF1
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) October 27, 2023
Thunderstorms and lightning strikes across northern NSW are being blamed for the outbreaks, with severe weather on Thursday sparking the new blazes.
Areas of the state’s north have been recording record temperatures, with areas around Grafton hitting 40.1C on Wednesday.
Total fire bans also remain in force for much of NSW.