A second person has died and 16 homes have been destroyed in bushfires in the Tara region of Queensland’s Western Downs, as firefighters struggle to bring the blazes under control.
A woman died after suffering a cardiac arrest on Wednesday, following the death of a man who was trying to protect his property on Tuesday night.
The devastating fires have already burned through more than 11,000 hectares of land in the area and 350 people have been evacuated.
An emergency warning has also been issued for Halliford, near Dalby, with residents told to leave immediately.
Rural Fire Service acting assistant commissioner Peter Hollier told the ABC that conditions remain very tough.
A second person has died and 16 homes have been destroyed in bushfires in the Tara region of Queensland’s Western Downs. A destroyed home is pictured
A woman died after suffering a cardiac arrest on Wednesday, following the death of a man who was trying to protect his property on Tuesday night. A home destroyed by fire is pictured
‘The wind is going to continue to be strong, potentially gusty at times. That will again be another challenging day for us today, as we head into areas of extreme fire danger.’
Queensland Fire and Emergency Service chief superintendent Warren Buckley said though some light rain overnight provided a little relief ‘It is still not safe to return’.
‘I need to make that 100 per cent clear … it is still a very dangerous fire, unpredictable and not under control at this stage.’
Speaking in the state parliament on Thursday morning, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said firefighters had fought more than 100 large fires this week.
‘They have fought them around the clock and their work is not over yet,’ she said.
‘All of us pray for the rain from storms forecast in the south-east over the next day or so.
‘Please continue to listen to the directions of our police and emergency services, take no risks and stay safe.’
On Wednesday, a devastated homeowner was forced to cut an interview short on live TV as he became overwhelmed with emotion after his property was destroyed by bushfire.
The unnamed man has been left with next to nothing as out-of-control fires continue to burn in the Western Downs region in Queensland.
‘This is crap,’ the visibly emotional resident told Today on Wednesday, fighting back tears.
‘We’ve been out here for 10 years with no fires, then this. Our caravan, four sheds, one car (are all gone).’
The distraught homeowner was so overcome with emotion he was forced to cut the interview short telling the reporter: ‘Gotta stop’.
Devastating bushfires have ravaged rural and regional Queensland for weeks with several people facing homelessness after losing their properties to the flames.
On Tuesday the fires claimed their first Queensland life of the season.
An emergency warning has also been issued for Halliford, near Dalby, with residents told to leave immediately
A body was discovered in Tara amid horrific bushfires (pictured, Millmerran in the Western Downs)
Police said a body was discovered in Tara, in the Western Downs, where Queensland Fire and Emergency Services have urged residents to flee.
‘This is an emerging situation and investigations are ongoing,’ police said in a statement.
A report will be prepared for the coroner.
Residents were told in emergency warnings overnight to leave their homes at Tara, Wieambilla, Kogan, Goranba and Weranga west of Brisbane, as well as Millmerran Woods.
Authorities said it was not yet safe for residents in Millmerran Downs and Cypress Gardens to return, with the fire in the area still burning on Wednesday morning.
Firefighters across Queensland are on high alert with above-average temperatures and increased winds forecast as residents in the state’s south await the all-clear to return home.
More than 50 people were forced to flee their homes on Tuesday while over 40 firefighting crews with waterbombing aircraft battled to contain the blaze.
The large, fast-moving fire – one of more than 40 being monitored across Queensland – was burning between Tara, Wieambilla and Kogan late on Tuesday.
Rural Fire Service Chief Superintendent Tony Johnstone said five homes had been lost in the blaze and another 10 properties were under close watch.
At least six homes have been lost to the current bushfires blazing through Queensland (pictured, Millmerran)
He said spot fires had been advancing 200 metres ahead of the bushfire due to strong winds.
In other current fires around the state, another home and three sheds have been burnt to the ground.
A QFES spokesperson said the number of properties lost will likely rise once fire crews can safely complete damage assessments.
Evacuation centres have been set up at Western Downs Regional Council customer centre and Millmerran showgrounds.
Mr Johnstone said fire crews would conduct line scans overnight.
‘We do line scans each night so that when crews start the next day they can actually see where the fire has been,’ he told reporters on Tuesday.
Due to the heightened fire conditions, fire bans have been enacted in Rockhampton, Livingstone, Mackay, Whitsundays, Isaac, Central Highlands, Barcaldine, Blackall-Tambo, Longreach, Barcoo, Winton, Gladstone and Banana.
Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Mark Ryan said the government had extended the contract period for firefighting aircraft with a lengthy fire season forecast.
Waterbombing aircraft have already conducted more than 6,000 drops.
Extreme fire danger ratings are expected for the state’s Gulf Country, central west, northwest and Channel Country in the coming days.
The Bureau of Meteorology said a southerly change would bring cooler conditions moving through from the Channel Country in the state’s west later this week, with a chance of rain in the Western Downs by Friday.
As of 11am on Wednesday, QFES has issued two emergency warnings, two watch and act orders and 20 warnings to stay informed for fires around the state.
Bushfires have already claimed two lives in New South Wales.
More than 40 firefighting crews with waterbombing aircraft are working to control the bushfires (pictured, volunteer firefighters in Central Queensland)
The body discovered near Tara was the first Queensland life lost to bushfires this season (pictured, Tallebudgera Valley fire)
Waterbombing aircraft have already conducted more than 6,000 drops in Queensland (pictured, Millmerran)
On October 9 a volunteer firefighter died while battling a blaze at Bean Creek near Kyogle in the state’s north when he suffered a ‘medical episode’.
His death was followed a little over a week later by family man Richard Mainey’s on October 16.
Mr Mainey had stayed at his Temagog property with four family members to protect it from bushfires sweeping through the area, 30km west of Kempsey near Port Macquarie.