Firefighters work to save properties in northern New South Wales – video
Hundreds of firefighters are working to contain over 130 bushfires ravaging Queensland and New South Wales, as the Queensland premier cuts short her Europe trip to return home.
Over 400 people were in evacuation centres on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast as a blaze still burns out of control at Peregian Beach and Peregian Breeze Estate. One property has been destroyed in the area.
On Tuesday afternoon, a Boeing 737 dumped 15,000 litres of fire retardant onto the Peregian fire.10 News First Queensland (@10NewsFirstQLD)
JUMBO WATER BOMBER: More support for Peregian fires with a 737 Large Air Tanker dropping fire retardant over the fire front. pic.twitter.com/JhhVdcMMQnSeptember 10, 2019
There were 80 fires burning across Queensland, with the biggest of concern still the Peregian Beach fire on the Sunshine Coast, but the acting Queensland premier, Jackie Trad, said the number of fires could change overnight depending on the unpredictable wind conditions.
The fires have mostly been on the southern end of Queensland, but some have flared up near Brookhill and Oak Valley, south of Townsville.
The Bureau of Meteorology forecast fire dangers decreasing across most of Queensland from very high to high on Wednesday.Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland (@BOM_Qld)
Latest forecasts show fire dangers decreasing across most of QLD to 'high' tomorrow & Thursday as winds decrease. Increasing temperatures on Friday will lead 'very high' fire dangers returning across southern and central districts. Latest forecasts: https://t.co/HpwyjwVKBJpic.twitter.com/Uohm7RcbwtSeptember 10, 2019
The Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, will return home later this week, earlier than planned, in response to the ongoing situation. Palaszczuk is in Switzerland meeting with IOC officials regarding Queensland’s potential bid for the 2032 Olympic Games. Guardian Australia understands the meeting could not be moved, and the premier will return as soon as it is finished, arriving back in Queensland on Thursday instead of Saturday.
The Queensland opposition had criticised Palaszczuk leaving for the trip on the weekend when fires were beginning to flare up.
Trad said if Queensland was going to be a serious contender for the 2032 Olympics, the premier had to be there. Trad told the ABC that Palaszczuk had been receiving frequent updates on the fire situation while in Switzerland.
In a press conference held at midday today, Trad announced with the Queensland police commissioner, Katarina Carroll, the establishment of a taskforce to investigate the source of eight fires in the past few days.
“Some of the behaviour has been unfortunately reckless and other behaviour has been purposeful,” Carroll said.
“Some of the fires have involved children playing and obviously the consequences are dire as a result of that and, as I said, some of them have been purposeful and malicious. Can I please ask parents to speak to their children.”
Police located a 12-year-old boy who was alleged to have deliberately lit a fire in bushland and part of a Logan City Council storage facility. The fire destroyed a fence and two shipping containers in the facility. Queensland police said he would be dealt with under the provisions of the Youth Justice Act.
Police have also spoken to teenagers who allegedly claimed responsibility for the Peregian fire after their chats were posted on Facebook.
In northern New South Wales, the fires have been burning out of control in Shark Creek near Yamba, Bees Nest near Armidale, and Drake.NSW RFS (@NSWRFS)
At 5pm there are 50 fires burning, with 21 fires remaining uncontained. More than 630 firefighters are deployed. Two Emergency Warnings remain in place. #NSWRFS#nswfireshttps://t.co/ey9p0fuZ3xpic.twitter.com/JfPjvgkrTmSeptember 10, 2019
Nine homes have so far been reported as lost in the 50 fires burning in NSW.
The Bees Nest fire was downgraded to watch and act as conditions eased, but was still considered out of control. It had burned more than 66,500 hectares. Strong winds were pushing the fire in a north-easterly direction.
The Drake fire had burned 40,000 hectares and was still not under control as it burned to the west of the Clarence River in the Girard state forest.NSW RFS (@NSWRFS)
The Large Air Tanker coming in for another drop at the fire near Yamba. Retardant is being used to help slow the fire. #nswrfs#nswfirespic.twitter.com/gGnOuPxIt0September 10, 2019
The Shark Creek fire had burned 9,000 hectares. It was still not under control, but firefighters had slowed the spread of the fire and conditions were easing, meaning the threat to properties had eased.
A fire in Legume had been contained and the immediate threat to properties had eased.