Bushfire, Beerwah, Glass House Mountains, Hunter Valley: Residents told to evacuate from their homes as scientists warn incoming El Niño climate pattern will bring scorching hot, dry summer
- BREAKING NEWS: Locals told to ‘leave immediately’
- Residents told that ‘lives are at risk’ from bushfire
- READ MORE: Australia set for worst bushfire season in years
Residents of a rural central Queensland town have been told to ‘leave immediately’ as a fast moving bushfire makes its way towards people and property, putting ‘lives at risk’.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services issued the warning to residents of Emerald at around 1.15pm on Sunday, saying the warning area covered homes along Selma Road between Emerald and Fairbairn Dam Road.
There is a second fire burning in the Glass House Mountains National Park near Beerwah on the Sunshine Coast.
It comes after Climate scientists warn of the incoming El Niño pattern set to bring scorching hot, dry summer.
Firefighters are also battling a blaze in NSW, north of Cessnock Road at Neath, 4km from the town of Cessnock in the Hunter Valley – with the blaze covering an area of 18 hectares and a ‘Watch and Act’ alert in place.
Firefighters are battling a blaze (pictured) in NSW, north of Cessnock Road at Neath, 4km from the town of Cessnock in the Hunter Valley
The Neath fire is pictured encroaching on nearby houses 4km from the town of Cessnock
Residents of Neath and nearby areas have been urged to prepare for what could happen in the coming hours, to continue to monitor conditions and follow their bushfire survival plan.
The warning area for the central Queensland fire also included the Fairbairn State Forest and residents had to leave immediately, the service said.
READ MORE: Dark warning about bushfire threat if ‘strongest El Nino EVER measured’ hits Australia
Australia is set to burn if El Nino returns as predicted, bringing hot and dry conditions.
‘A fast-moving fire is burning near (Fairbairn) State Forest. It is expected to impact Selma Road within the coming hours,’ the warning said.
‘Your life could be at risk. It will soon be too dangerous to drive.’
Firefighting aircrafts were being used to help crews on the ground contain the fire.
The service warned people in Emerald to call triple zero if their lives were in danger, and to not expect a firefighter at their door.
Power, water and mobile phone services could soon stop working, smoke would make it hard to see and breathe, and it would be hot and loud with potential explosions nearby, the service said.
It warned people to check for road closures before they left via the QLD Traffic website and said if they didn’t leave, they could be isolated.
Those who could not leave safely were advised to find a safe place to shelter, preferably in a brick building, and to seal vents.
A QFES spokesman described the Emerald fire as a ‘large grass fire’ around 2km in size and that 10 crews were fighting it.
Another five crews were sent out by 2pm.
At 1.54pm another warning was issued for a ‘fast moving’ fire burning in the Glass House Mountains National Park.
The fire was expected to reach Mawsons Road ‘within the hour’. The warning area also includes Holt Road.
Overall, there are around 20 fires burning across Queensland, including near Bundaberg, Miles, Townsville, Rockhampton and Gladstone.
People in those areas have been advised to look out for smoke, though those fires are not currently threatening property.
Residents of a rural central Queensland town have been told to ‘leave immediately’ as a fast moving bushfire makes its way towards people and houses, putting ‘lives at risk’. There is a second fire burning in the Glass House Mountains National Park (pictured) near Beerwah on the Sunshine Coast
Rain has created ‘fuel growth’ for bushfires to spread, with large parts of NSW, Queensland and the Northern Territory at increased risk
The latest fires follow a stark warning that Australia could be in for its worst bushfire season in years caused by El Niño.
El Niño is the world’s most consequential climate driver and triggers changes across 60 per cent of the world’s weather patterns.
The weather pattern has been linked to heavy rain and flooding in some areas including southern United States and Peru while also triggering drier weather in other countries.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, atmospheric change consistent with El Niño has not kicked in yet.
‘We’ve never seen anything quite like this,’ senior BOM climatologist Simon Grainger said.
An El Niño event features unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Pacific, and a weakening of the trade winds, which reinforce each other and lock the weather pattern in until March to May next year.
Your town will be hotter than usual before Christmas
The following are median October-December temperatures for Australian capital cities between 1981 and 2018.
These median temperatures could be surpassed in 2023.
- Melbourne 22.3 °C
- Sydney 24.7 °C
- Canberra 23.5 °C
- Brisbane 27.7 °C
- Darwin 34.3 °C
- Perth 25.3 °C
- Adelaide 24.3 °C
- Hobart 19.3 °C
Sea surface temperatures have also exceed the El Niño values of 0.8 degrees Celsius – staying at 1.6C warmer than normal.
Dr Grainger said El Niño is likely delayed with BOM keeping the status at an ‘alert’ level, or a 70 per cent chance of development, in its latest climate driver.
‘That’s potentially one of the factors we were grappling with, that the El Niño could be delayed because it just takes that much longer for the full conditions to be set up to full reverse from a La Niña,’ Dr Grainger said.
‘This can have real impacts on agriculture, on bushfire risk, on the potential for more intense heatwaves, and all these things have had significant impacts on human health and the economy.’
The Bureau of Meteorology along with state and national emergency services agencies, fire services and climate authorities combined to issue the high-level warning to ‘prepare now’.
A new report said Australia is emerging from ‘consecutive La Niña years’, which brought heavy rain, into a period marked by ‘higher chances of above average temperatures and below average rainfall for almost the entire country’.
While land in many areas is not as dry as before previous horror bushfire seasons, a new seasonal outlook said an ‘increased risk of bushfire has been identified’ for much of the country for spring.
‘Recent rainfall means many regions have also seen increased fuel growth, which is contributing to increased risk of bushfire for many regions of Australia during the spring season,’ the statement said.
The risks apply to ‘large areas of the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales, as well as regions in Victoria and South Australia’.
An ‘increased risk of bushfire’ is the likelihood of an increased number of significant bushfires occurring compared with the average.
Twelve fire and emergency services organisations, including the weather office, have issued a high-level warning to ‘prepare now’ for the bushfire season. A bushfire is pictured
The spring seasonal outlook, issued by the National Council for Fire and Emergency Services, and developed by the BoM and 10 state organisations, is meant as ‘a strong reminder to communities and businesses across the country to prepare now’.
‘Wherever you live, work or travel, now is the time to plan and prepare. Understand your risk, know where you will get your information, and talk to your family about what you will do.’
Property owners on urban fringes and in regional areas are urged to prepare bushfire survival plans and maintain their blocks by trimming overhanging branches, mowing lawns, cleaning gutters and installing mesh on windows, among other measures.
A spokesman for the NSW Rural Fire Service told Daily Mail Australia that ‘leaving it to the last minute to prepare is simply too late’.
‘It is important that every landowner knows their risk and takes the time now to prepare.
‘Being threatened by fire can be an incredibly daunting experience and that’s why if your plan is to leave, or you are not prepared, leaving early is the safest option.’
Protect yourself and your property from life-threatening bushfires
- Clean your gutters of leaves and twigs
- Install metal gutter guards
- Repair damaged or missing tiles on the roof
- Install fine metal mesh screens on windows and doors
- Fit seals around doors and windows to eliminate gaps
- Enclose the areas under the house
- Repair or cover gaps in external walls
- Attach a fire sprinkler system to gutters
- Keep lawns short and gardens well maintained
- Cut back trees and shrubs overhanging all buildings
- Clean up fallen leaves, twigs and debris around the property
- Have hoses long enough to reach around your house
- If you have a pool, tank or dam, put a Static Water Supply (SWS) sign on your property entrance, so firefighters know where they can get water
- Check and maintain adequate levels of home and contents insurance. Ensure it is up to date
- Prepare a Bushfire Survival Plan – which includes what to do should a bushfire occur – that everyone in the house understands. Examples are at the QFES website and the NSW Rural Fire Service website
If a bushfire is approaching, leave as early as possible – especially ensure children and elderly people are out.
If you’re planning on conducting a burn greater than 2m in any direction in Queensland, you need to obtain a Permit To Light Fire. Talk to your local Fire Warden or head to the QFES website.
To find out if you need a fire permit in NSW, go to the NSW Rural Fire Service website.
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