Dozens of people have been forced to evacuate their homes on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast as a huge grass fire rages.
Strong winds have made the conditions particularly difficult for firefighters, and residents were seen evacuating their animals, including horses.
On Saturday afternoon emergency services had the blaze back under control and within containment lines, but weather conditions mean this could change.
People evacuate horses from their home as a bushfire approaches Corbould Park Racecourse
The fire which started on Friday is being fanned by winds gusting up to 60 km/h
A large smoke haze could be seen hanging over Caloundra on Saturday morning, fanned by winds gusting up to 60km/h.
Fire and Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan has said the warmer-than-expected conditions in late winter, coupled with excess vegetation resulting from Cyclone Debbie, means conditions are perfect for large bushfires.
‘Our more than 30,000 rural firefighters have been working hard since April putting in firebreaks, completing hazard reduction burns and running community events to prepare Queenslanders for the 2017 bushfire season,’ Mr Ryan said in a statement.
‘But bushfires can occur at any time and you don’t need to live near bushland to be affected so we are asking everyone to be on the lookout and to report any vegetation fires to triple-zero immediately.’
Firemen wait as a bushfire approaches Corbould Park Racecourse in Caloundra on Saturday
People evacuate their hoes as a bushfire approaches their properties in Caloundra
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Acting Commissioner Mike Wassing said firefighters were anticipating a long bushfire season.
‘In line with the findings of the Northern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook, firefighters are reporting above normal fire activity in parts of the state,’ Mr Wassing said.
‘We may experience another long bushfire season similar to last year, which saw around 6000 bushfires and lasted 198 days.’
Firemen wait as a bushfire approaches Corbould Park Racecourse in Caloundra before 1pm
Those living nearby the Corbould Park Racecourse had to evacuate their horses from their home as a bushfire approached the area.
A man was seen leading his racehorse out to safety, while another woman could be seen piggy-backing a young girl out from the area.
All these rescue efforts were the result of quick thinking individuals who decided to evacuate the area as soon as thick smoke was seen hovering on the skylines of Caloundra, in the wake of the bush fires.