Fires continue to rage in Queensland, NSW

Fire trucks are seen during a bushfire in Werombi, 50 km southwest of Sydney. Photo: Reuters
Fire trucks are seen during a bushfire in Werombi, 50 km southwest of Sydney. Photo: Reuters
A fire has been contained after it caused a shipping container loaded with fireworks to explode and prompted an emergency declaration in southeast Queensland.

The fast-moving blaze in bushland at Bundamba, west of Brisbane, was sparked by a house fire which spread to the shipping container just after 11am, with authorities declaring an emergency situation.

Firefighters could not confirm the home was destroyed, but police said the structure was fully involved and two people were treated on scene for heat stress and smoke inhalation.

The blaze was ultimately contained on Saturday night and downgraded to 'advice', with residents now able to return safely home.

Crews remain at the scene monitoring the area and dampening down hotspots.

Smoke from the fire has added to the haze across the southeast, as a southerly change pushes smoke from the NSW fires into the state.

The southeast corner of the state was shrouded in smoke, with the World Health Quality index showing unhealthy levels of air quality across parts of Queensland.

"We have seen a southerly change move up from NSW and with it bringing more smoke from the NSW fires," said Rosa Hoff from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Fire danger in the southeast corner troubled authorities as Brisbane sweltered in 39C heat, with the mercury hitting 40.7C at Amberley near Ipswich.

The hot and dry weather has been unrelenting, but a cool change is expected on Sunday.

"This southerly change means we will see temperatures ease down, however it will still be above average. It is a relief from the severe heatwave conditions, but it still not business as usual.

"Our fire danger ratings will ease back to very high from severe."

Firefighters are pinning their hopes on that cool change for a desperately needed reprieve.

There are more than 40 fires burning across the state. A conservative estimate of 207,000 hectares of land burnt out since the start of the bushfire season is expected to rise, with 22 - possibly rising to 23 - homes lost.

The haze from bushfires obscures the sun setting above the Sydney Opera House in Sydney. Photo:...
The haze from bushfires obscures the sun setting above the Sydney Opera House in Sydney. Photo: Reuters
NSW battling more than 100 fires 

More than 100 fires are burning across NSW including a "mega fire" the size of Sydney as authorities brace for temperatures to soar into the 40s early next week.

It's expected that a fire at Gospers Mountain, near Sydney's northwestern outskirts, could take weeks to put out.

The fire in the Wollemi National Park has burned nearly 300,000 hectares and has merged with neighbouring fires.

"The total area burnt by these fires is around 335,000 hectares," the RFS said.

"These will take many weeks to put out - and only when we get good rain."

Hawkesbury City Council deputy mayor Mary Lyons-Buckett said the blazes can only be described as a "mega fire".

Evacuation centres have been set up at the Cessnock and Wyong Rugby League clubs and Gosford RSL.

Community meetings will be held at the St Albans RFS station on Saturday night and East Kurrajong RFS station on Sunday.

On Saturday afternoon, there were 105 bushfires across the state including 18 at a "watch and act" level such as the Gospers Mountain fire.

The Illawarra-Shoalhaven region has been placed on a total fire ban, joining most of the east of the state, due to worsening conditions.

Bans were already in place for seven regions, including the Greater Sydney and Hunter regions.

Firefighters will have a brief window over the weekend to get on top of the crisis before the weather deteriorates early next week.

The Bureau of Meteorology has painted a grim picture for the coming week, with winds forecast to whip dangerous fire grounds and no rain relief in sight.

Some fires are generating plumes of smoke that are so vast, they appear as rain on the bureau's radar.

The bureau has forecast temperatures to hit the low to mid 40s in the Hunter, Central Tablelands and western Sydney on Tuesday.

In western Sydney, a maximum of 43C is forecast for Penrith while Singleton in the Hunter is expected to hit 44C.

Temperatures will also soar in the state's northwest, where they are forecast to hit 44C in Bourke and 43C in Colbar.

About 1000 homes have been either damaged or destroyed this bushfire season while almost 5000 homes have been saved, according to figures released by the RFS.

Comments

Ban and remove all flammable material. It's not business as usual.

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