UPDATE @7.30AM | Local fire fighters are due to be rested over the coming days, as conditions ease for the Hinterland fires.
It’s understood the fire is still burning, though luckily within containment lines.
QFES Deputy Commissioner Neil Gallant told Channel 7 this morning that crews will be taking advantage of easing weather conditions.
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“The next two days the weather is moderating and not too bad, but then it turns bad again.
“So we got a couple of days to really try and strengthen those containment lines,” Dept. Commissioner Gallant said.
Good news for local ground crews as well, with the break-in weather allowing for some time off.
The Rural Fire Service’s Wayne Waltisbuhl told Channel Seven that they’ll be sending some of their crews home today.
“We’re cycling people through now, we’re going to send some people home today, mainly all the locals to have a rest so that they’re here on the weekend, when the weather might pop up.
“We’ve also got some more crews coming in from interstate to back us up as well,” Mr Waltisbuhl said.
EARLIER @ 6.00PM | Exhausted firefighters have spent the day strengthening containment lines in the Hinterland despite strong winds hampering efforts.
The immediate threat to communities has eased after another frantic night on Monday.
All fire fronts in the Hinterland are currently at Advice Level with residents urged to stay informed.
QFES Chief Superintendent Mark Stuart says residents will need to stay alert for some time to come.
“We have a number of advice messages out to the community in that vicinity.
“They will remain for the foreseeable future while we still do have active fire in that area.”
220 firefighters continue to battle the blaze, helped by water bombing aircraft and around 50 SES volunteers.
At Lower Beechmont, the fire there continues to burn in an easterly directions towards Lower Beechmont.
A blaze is still burning at Binna Burra, south of Summerville Rd while crews are still working on a blaze in Lamington National Park at Numinbah Valley which is travelling in a north easterly direction towards Nerang Murwillumbah Rd.
The blaze at Sarabah is still burning south of Sarabah Rd in Lamington National Park while closer to O’Reilly another front is burning between Sarabah Rd and Kamarun Lookout Rd.
No properties are under threat however there is plenty of smoke in the area.
Conditions are expected to continue easing on Wednesday and Thursday giving firefighters more time to get the upper hand.
But it will be short lived with temperatures set to increase on Friday and Saturday, increasing the fire danger again.
Chief Superintendent Stuart says the drop in temperature today and over the next couple of days will help, but won’t bring an end to the fight.
“The problem we are having is it’s just been so long since we’ve had significant rain.
“The fuel moisture is so dry, even though the temperature is dropping, with those strong winds the fire can just increase its intensity in a very short amount of time.
“We might see a couple of days of reprieve where we might be able to get on top of some of the areas but we certainly haven’t seen the end of this fire.”
WATCH: Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen chats about fires and how the community is staying strong
EARLIER @ 10.00AM | THERE has been some good news for firefighters in the Scenic Rim, with winds nowhere near as ferocious as predicted.
A Gale Wind Warning was in place for the Gold Coast on Tuesday, with wind gusts of up to 90km/h possible in some areas through the morning.
However, the Bureau of Meteorology has since downgrade the warning to a “Strong Wind Warning”
“We’ve actually got a slight reprieve in the weather prediction today so far. We had high predictions in terms of the strength of the winds. They don’t appear to be coming through as strong as predicted. but we will get a slight increase this afternoon,” QFES Assistant Commissioner Kevin Walsh said.
“The good news is that the Fire Danger Rating will decrease over the coming two days. So that will give us a very good opportunity to blacken out the edges of this fire and to ensure we are able to strengthen the containment lines as best as we possibly can. They will be two very important planning days on the fire ground because the conditions will again increase towards the end f the week on Friday and Saturday.”
UPDATE @9.00AM | The Scenic Rim Mayor has called on Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate to get his disaster response up to scratch, as flames continue to threaten the city limits.
Flames look to push closer towards Lower Beechmont and Canungra today, with crews battling gale force winds.
Wind gusts up to 90km/h could be seen throughout the course of today.
Luckily, authorities have been able to confirm that only 11 houses have been lost in the hinterland to date, as well as five commercial structures, which include Binna Burra resort.
It’s understood there are also another three houses that have been severely damaged, which will hinder people’s ability to return to them.
The full extent of the damage so far is hard to quantify, with crews still struggling to get into the effected areas.
Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen this morning confirmed he’s been in talks with Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate, to ensure disaster management groups work together.
“Last night when it became evident that there was a threat to Lower Beechmont I gave Tom a call.
“Our LDMGs (Local Disaster Management Groups) are working as one now, because it’s a shared risk, so I gave him a call.
“He was appropriately – as I expect – responsive, and turned his attention to doing the right this with his disaster response.
“Including considering the preparation for evacuation centres, and to have the right resources to support his community,” Mayor Christensen said.
EARLIER 6.30AM Tuesday 10 September: A gale wind warning has been issued for the Gold Coast today, which is expected to severely impact fire fighting efforts in the Hinterland.
Winds could reach gusts up to 90kms an hour today, with the brunt expected in the morning.
QFES Assistant Commissioner Kevin Walsh told myGC there are plenty of ground crews ready for what’s to come.
“We are prepared. Today will be challenging again with those wind gusts between 4.00am and 10.00am this morning.
“At present they haven’t come through, but we are still expecting them to come through before 10.00am.
“We’ve got plenty of crews on the ground, and we’re prepared for what comes today,” Assistant Commissioner Walsh told myGC this morning.
Multiple hinterland schools will be closed today, including Numinbah Valley, Canungra, and St Bernard State Schools.
It’s understood Beechmont State School will also remain closed.
Education Minister Grace Grace says all community members should continue to act with safety in mind.
“These schools are in the danger zone associated with the Sarabah Valley fires, with worsening conditions expected overnight and very thick smoke through the valley tomorrow.
“Following advice from emergency services authorities, the Department of Education has made the decision to close these schools.
“The decision to close schools is never taken lightly, but our number one priority remains the safety of students
“Even if your school remains open, if you’re concerned about travelling to or from school in the current conditions, remember safety must come first,” Ms Grace said.
Overnight, O’Reilly residents were told to leave immediately, as the fire burning in Lamington National Park blocked off road access in and out of the area.
Around 100 people had to seek shelter at O’Reilly Guest House, because they were unable to leave via the road.
The group included police, guests and staff. Luckily, they were able to be safely evacuated around 9.00pm.
Also overnight, residents in Lower Beechmont were told to prepare to leave, though there were conflicting reports of the danger of the situation.
QFES Assistant Commissioner Kevin Walsh told myGC this morning that the warning to ‘prepare to leave’ was exactly the right call.
“It was ‘watch and act’ so it wasn’t an evacuation. It was watch and act.
“And in that warning it was recommended that people without a bushfire plan should relocate.
“But at that time the intelligence said that it was going to present a danger in the coming hours so it was definitely the right call,” Asst Commissioner Walsh said.
Both Lower Beechmont and O’Reilly have since been revised down to ‘stay informed’ warning levels.
Illinbah has now also been issued a ‘stay informed’ warning, as of around 6.00am this morning.
Overnight, Queensland Police released a list of areas that could be impacted by the fires today, it includes Canungra, Witheren, Ferny Glen, Fly Fox, Illinbah, Sarabah, O’Reilly, Cainbable, Binna Burra, Numinbah Valley, Beechmont.
EARLIER @ 11.20PM: QFES as updated its advice for a fire burning near Lower Beechmont with residents now urged to ‘prepare to leave.’
The blaze continues to travel in an easterly direction with warnings it may impact Lower Beechmont, however there is no immediate threat.
Residents are urged to be ready to follow their bushfire survival plan in case the situation changes.
Strong winds have been hitting the area and are forecast to strengthen throughout the night.
Locals are urged to stay up to date with the latest conditions.
The updated advice comes after the Lower Beechmont Rural Fire Brigade contradicted the advice by QFES for residents to leave.
Local fire crews insisted there was no threat to Lower Beechmont and no need to evacuate, sparking confusion among residents.
QFES advised at the time that its advice was appropriate for the current situation.
EARLIER @ 9.40PM: The bushfire situation in the Hinterland is worsening this evening with residents in Lower Beechmont urged to leave now.
A Watch and Act has been issued for a bushfire burning towards the township.
It is expected to impact Beechmont Rd between between Lower Beechmont School Road and Bottletree Lane.
QFES warns the fire could have a significant impact on the community.
Residents in the Lower Beechmont township should evacuate in a north easterly direction on Beechmont Road towards Nerang.
Fire crews are trying to contain the blaze but warn they may not be able to protect every property.
People in immediate danger should call Triple Zero (000).
An Emergency Warning remains in place for another fire front travelling west towards Lamington National Park Road.
It is expected to impact Lamington National Park Road at Sarabah and Cainbable.
Residents on Lamington National Park Road, between Sarabah Road and Kamarun Lookout Road, are advised to evacuate north to Moriarty Park, Canungra.
EARLIER @ 9.00PM: Firefighters battling the fierce bushfire burning in the Hinterland are fearing the worst tonight with conditions set to deteriorate.
It comes as an Emergency Warning remains in place for a fire at O’Reilly.
The fire is travelling in a westerly direction towards Lamington National Park Road and is expected to impact Lamington National Park Road at Sarabah and Cainbable.
Residents on Lamington National Park Road, between Sarabah Road and Kamarun Lookout Road, are advised to evacuate north to Moriarty Park, Canungra.
The fire is expected to have a significant impact on the community.
Strong winds have already started to hit the area and are expected to peak around midnight.
QFES is warning that these winds will impact the fire and spark further ember attacks.
Conditions may become very dangerous, with firefighters unable to prevent the fire advancing.
Residents in the following areas are being urged to keep up to date with the latest conditions:
• Ferny Glen
• Fly Fox
• Binna Burra
• Numinbah Valley
Thick smoke and embers are expected in the area, reducing visibility and air quality.
Residents are being urged to be ready to follow their Bushfire Survival Plan and decide what they will do if the situation changes.
People who don’t have a plan or intend to leave are being told to be ready to go.
Evacuations have been taking place in O’Reilly amid fears the area could come under threat tonight.
An Emergency Warning was issued this afternoon with officials concerned the one road out of the area could be cut off.
About 100 people, including guests and staff were holed up with Police at the O’Reilly Guest House, unable to leave the area by road.
They have since been able to leave the area and are now at a nearby evacuation centre.
The fire continues to burn on several fronts.
Advice alerts are still current for Binna Burra, Sarabah and Numinbah Valley with residents urged to stay informed.
EARLIER @ 5.00PM: An emergency warning remains in place for a dangerous bushfire burning in the Hinterland with residents at O’Reilly urged to leave immediately.
Police have begun evacuations with fears conditions are likely to worsen tonight.
The blaze is travelling in a south easterly direction towards O’Reilly and is expected to impact Lamington National Park Road.
QFES Assistant Commissioner Kevin Walsh says they needed to do this now instead of waiting until tonight.
“We are working with Queensland Police Service to do an orderly evacuation of O’Reilly because it is in a situation where there is only one road in and one road out,” Assistant Commissioner Walsh said.
“Those plans have been well in place early this morning.”
Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen says the unpredictable winds could pose a problem this evening.
“As the wind changes and shifts as we go into the evening, we can get an ember attack like we had the other day that can create a new fire front,” Mayor Christensen said.
“The evacuations are a precautionary step because it is a long, windy, dangerous-at-night -let alone under smokey conditions – corridor if people needed to be moved in the dark.
“So our first priority is no loss of life so the decision to move them while there’s still light, that’s just being prudent.”
Police and the SES are currently going door-to-door to ensure people are aware of the situation.
— Marlina Whop (@MarlinaWhop) September 9, 2019
Residents on Lamington National Park Road, south of Cainbable Lookout, are advised to travel south to O’Reilly Guest House, 3582 Lamington National Park Rd, Canungra, which is a place of refuge.
Residents north of Cameron Lookout Road are advised to travel north to Moriarty Park, Canungra, which is a place of refuge.
If you are in immediate danger call Triple Zero (000)
— Jess Millward (@JessMillward9) September 9, 2019
EARLIER @ 2.00PM | Water bombing aircraft are continuing to help crews on the ground battle the blaze burning near Binna Burra.
While there’s no immediate threat, locals are being warned that could change very quickly like we saw last night.
Conditions deteriorated in Binna Burra just before 9pm with a number of properties coming under ember attack.
QFES Acting Commissioner Mike Wassing says the aircraft are proving crucial.
“There’s been a lot of firefighting effort on the ground and in the air including the large air tanker support from New South Wales.
“At one point we had to withdraw firefighters because of the dangers associated with that, but we’ve continued to have aerial support into that area.”
The current warning is at Advice level with residents urged to keep up to date.
The fire is currently burning on both sides of Binna Burra Rd, south of Summerville Rd.
Crews are also battling another front near Numinbah Valley which is burning in a north-easterly direction towards Nerang Murwillumbah Road.
Another front is still burning in Lamington National Park, south of Sarabah Rd.
Residents in both areas are urged to stay informed of the latest conditions.
Meantime, fire crews have now contained a bushfire that broke out earlier today in Clagiraba.
The fire is burning in the vicinity of Gerara Court and Clagiraba Road.
No properties are currently under threat.
Firefighters will remain on scene throughout the afternoon strengthening containment lines.
Nearby residents are being warned there’s a fair bit of smoke in the area and to shut their doors and windows if they suffer a respiratory condition.
EARLIER @12.30PM | Clagiraba residents have now been issued a warning to ‘stay informed’, as strong winds threaten to escalate the Hinterland bush fires.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) just issued an update advising there is a bushfire in Clagiraba.
Currently the fire is burning in the vicinity of Gerara Court and Clagiraba Road, and travelling in a north-easterly direction towards Mungindie Court, Mount Nathan.
No properties are under threat at this time, though people in the area are being told to keep up to date and decide what actions to take if the situation changes.
The area is also being heavily impacted by smoke, which is expected to reduce visibility and air quality.
It comes as firies prepare for an afternoon of strengthening and unpredictable winds.
“We’re going to see an increase in wind speeds over the south east Queensland area today, compared to the winds we saw on Sunday.
“We expect wind gusts to reach up to 80 kilometres per hour today in part of the south east,” Richard Wardle from the Bureau of Meteorology advised.
Warnings for Binna Burra and surrounding areas remain at ‘advice’ level, though residents are being told the situation could change at any time.
In the most recent update, QFES Acting Commissioner Mike Wassing says the danger is far from over.
“There’s no immediate threat to any additional properties or families, but that is a very large fire in very difficult terrain.
“And whilst we have significant resources both on ground and in the air, that fire will remain a concern for us,” Acting Commissioner Wassing said.
EARLIER @ 11.00am | GOLD Coast City Council is continuing to work closely with authorities as the strong winds threaten to push the Hinterland bushfire further into the region.
An ‘Advice Warning” remains in place for the Binna Burra area this morning as the blaze continues burning on both sides of Binna Burra Road, south of Summerville Road.
A spokesperson for City of Gold Coast said the Mayor and Council was keeping a close eye on the situation.
“We have been monitoring the conditions closely all weekend and are working closely with local authorities.”
EARLIER @ 6.00am | Hinterland residents are being warned the threat of the bush fires is still far from over, after another harrowing night for residents in Binna Burra.
Overnight, an ember attack sparked an emergency warning for the area, with locals told around 9.00pm to seek shelter, and that it was too late to leave.
That situation was luckily contained pretty quickly, with the Binna Burra warning revised down to ‘stay informed’ level.
Fire fighters have confirmed that no properties have been lost overnight, though conditions are still too dangerous for authorities to carry out a comprehensive damage assessment.
As of this morning, 11 properties have been lost in the Sarabah/Binna Burra area.
Today, dry, gusty winds are expected to make fire fighting efforts extremely difficult, with winds forecast to reach up to 70km/h by this afternoon.
“Some very strong winds coming through again today, from the west and south west, so that’s going to put a lot of pressure on our crews, trying to contain the fire, obviously that will bring structures under threat yet again today,” QFES Superintendent Corey Bock told reporters.
Authorities today predict that the Numinbah Valley area might now be at risk today, as flames continue to travel in that easterly direction.
It’s understood authorities are door knocking residents in Numinbah Valley and Springbrook this morning to make them aware of the situation.
The Numinbah Correctional Centre has already been evacuated, with 101 women relocated to Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre to allow authorities to focus more on community safety in the area.
The farm’s livestock has been moved to a safe area of the property with access to feed and water.
Yesterday, Inspector Andrew Sturgess from QFES said the bushfires across Queensland – particularly in the south east – is an ‘omen’ of the fire season that we’re likely to see ahead.
“It is a historic event. We’ve never seen fire danger indices, fire danger ratings at this time of the year as we’re seeing now. Never seen this before in recorded history.
“Fire weather has never been this severe this early in spring. The other side of the fire weather is the impacts of the fires.
“Roughly in the 130 years of recorded impacts of bushfires in Queensland we’ve lost around 40 houses. We’ve lost into double figures with these events at Applethorpe and Sarabah.
“The impacts of the fires are historic in the Queensland context, as is the fire weather,” Inspector Sturgess said.
He continued that the outlook in the coming weeks and months isn’t looking good at all, and south east Queenslanders should be bracing for a severe fire season ahead.
“As far as the outlook, there is little chance of any rain, not in the next several days, unlikely in the next several weeks and even into the months ahead. Right up towards Christmas.
“The likelihood of seeing average rainfall is low. We need well above average rainfall to turn this trend around.
“This is an omen, if you will, a warning of the fire season that we’re likely to see ahead in the south-eastern parts of the state – the driest part of the state – where most of our population is,” Inspector Sturgess said.