Qld fires rage in worst start to season on record

Fire and Emergency crew battle bushfire near a house in the rural town of Canungra in the Scenic...
Fire and Emergency crew battle bushfire near a house in the rural town of Canungra in the Scenic Rim region of South East Queensland. Photo: Regi Varghese/AAP/via REUTERS
Queensland fire crews are battling raging bushfires in the most devastating start to the fire season in the state's recorded history as authorities warn it is an omen of things to come.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services predictive services inspector Andrew Sturgess says the fire danger weather has never been as severe so early in spring.

In 130 years of records, about 40 houses have been lost, he said.

Since Thursday, more than 2O structures - including 15 houses - have been destroyed, with that number expected to rise.

"So this is an omen, if you will, a warning of the fire season that we are likely to see in southeastern parts of the state where most of the population is," he said on Sunday.

Acting Premier Jackie Trad said the fires overnight also claimed a piece of Queensland's history in the Gold Coast hinterland.

"Unfortunately overnight the Binna Burra Lodge, which has been part of the tourism landscape since 1933, has succumbed to devastation by the fires," she said.

"We are concerned with several areas, including Central Queensland, but we have firefighters working throughout today and throughout the night.

There were 57 bushfires burning in the state on Sunday morning.

The two worst are an out-of-control blaze near the border towns of Applethorpe and Stanthorpe, and the bushfire in difficult terrain near Binna Burra in the Scenic Rim.

Scenic Rim Regional Council Mayor Greg Christensen warned it is still too dangerous for many to return to their homes because they risk being trapped by falling trees and other hazards.

The fire has already destroyed 11 homes that they know about.

"The reality is we should expect significant structural loss (and) that has already occurred, and potentially much more loss."

Water bombing is helping the firefighting efforts at the fire near Binna Burra.

In Stanthorpe people are bracing for another long day and night.

Many Stanthorpe and Applethorpe residents were evacuated from the path of the fast-moving bushfire there on Friday, and people in Applethorpe evacuated again on Saturday.

QFES assistant commissioner Megan Stiffler told them on Saturday they would not have the fire under control before Monday.

"We have days ahead of us and lots of hard work through the night to secure all edges of this fire," she said.

In Stanthorpe residents have been taking food to the showgrounds for those in need and offering homes for the displaced on the Stanthorpe Facebook page.

Lydia Wullems posted that they were now stocked for anyone in need.

"Food supplies, breaky, lunch packs, dinner, water, tea, coffee etc, or a chat. There is so much food here! Thankyou everyone for your amazing donations! Special thanks to Woolworths for supplying food stuff and all the amazing volunteers.."

Authorities have praised affected residents for heeding advice but warned against complacency.

 

 

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