Santas sack of cash wings 2019

Santas sack of cash wings 2019

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Locals prepare to flee massive Qld fire

Exhausted firefighters are working to contain more than 80 fires still burning across Queensland before a severe heatwave brings sweltering conditions.

Temperatures up to 40C are expected across the southern interior by Wednesday.

The heatwave will bring even more dangerous fire conditions to the southeast, where a number of fires are still burning.

Residents in the path of a monster fire burning in state forest north of Toowoomba were told to flee as the blaze closed in on the town of Crows Nest on Monday.

However by late in the evening the blaze had been downgraded from emergency to watch and act with residents advised to prepare to leave.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said residents who had evacuated from south-east of Crows Nest could return home.

There are unconfirmed reports five remote homes have been lost, acting fire assistant commissioner Mike Wassing told reporters.

"The winds are erratic. There are homes potentially still under threat this evening, that is absolutely the case," he said.

"It is a really difficult fire."

The massive fire in the Pechey State Forest has tripled in size, forcing schools and businesses to close as firefighters struggle to contain it.

At a town meeting in Crows Nest on Monday evening RFS acting inspector John Welke said conditions had "eased significantly" for firefighters as evening arrived, the Courier Mail reports.

"We're expecting the fire intensity in that area to decrease significantly tonight," Mr Welke said.

During the eased conditions, firefighters would conduct back-burning operations in a number of problem areas with the aim of turning the fire back onto itself and reducing fuel load, Mr Welke said.

Some five new firefighting injuries have been reported since 2pm on Sunday, however these are minor and include smoke inhalation and a twisted ankle.

Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio told AAP he had never seen a scenario like it.

"It's a perfect storm," Mr Antonio said.

He said the coming heatwave would be a "massive problem".

"As of Monday morning, the 14,000 hectares of land had been burned out. That is expanding by the minute.

"This fire is out of control, we are doing all we can to contain it, but we will not risk limb and life."

An evacuation centre on Monday was open at the Crows Nest Showgrounds on the New England Highway.

Fire has ripped through the Pechey forest north of Toowoomba in recent days, damaging the water supply to the city and a dozen surrounding smaller communities.

Fires burnt the powerlines connected to the water network including the Cressbrook Dam pump station stopping water pumping from the region's largest source of water.

"It will be necessary to limit water consumption for indoor human use and water for pets," Mr Antonio said.

"Water supply will be maintained wherever possible to help with firefighting work."

The state's bushfire crisis has entered its second week, with more than 80 fires burning across the state.

More than 158,000 hectares have been burnt and 16 homes lost.

Wild storms created challenging conditions for crews on Sunday but there was no loss of property.

On Moreton Island, campers - including some schoolies - left isolated northern campgrounds after lightning started a fire on Saturday.

The blaze is burning towards Bulwer, where a "leave now" warning is in place as crews work to steer the fire around the community.

Authorities are also watching a cluster of difficult blazes in the Border Ranges region, from Cunninghams Gap and Spicers Gap south to Mount Barney and Mount Lindsay.

Some of those fires have been burning for weeks and every time strong winds arrive, as they did at the weekend, they are pushed uphill and into steep terrain crews cannot access.

Other major fires at Cobraball, west of Yeppoon, and at Woodgate, south of Bundaberg, are mostly contained after a weekend of hard work by fire crews.

© AAP 2019