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Peregian Beach
Friday, August 19, 2022

Bushfires in Australia: Annastacia Palaszcuk to return from Europe – as it happened (Sunshine Coast | The Guardian)

Queensland premier cuts short overseas trip to deal with crisis, while more than 50 fires burn in New South Wales. This blog has now closed

Here’s what we know as we head into the evening on Tuesday:

At 5pm there are 50 fires burning, with 21 fires remaining uncontained. More than 630 firefighters are deployed. Two Emergency Warnings remain in place. #NSWRFS #nswfires https://t.co/ey9p0fuZ3x pic.twitter.com/JfPjvgkrTm

Meanwhile the federal water minister, David Littleproud, has told my colleague Paul Karp that he “doesn’t know if climate change is manmade” as he clarified earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the government’s response to intensifying bushfires:

I’m about practical outcomes, whether that’s about having a cleaner environment or giving farmers and emergency services the right tools to adapt.

I am responsible for making sure we have the tools we need to adapt to a changing climate.

Related: Australian natural disasters minister David Littleproud: ‘I don’t know if climate change is manmade’

Here’s a video of a water bomber working on the Peregian fire in Queensland.

JUMBO WATER BOMBER: More support for Peregian fires with a 737 Large Air Tanker dropping fire retardant over the fire front. pic.twitter.com/JhhVdcMMQn

Not too surprising, given the circumstances.

Brisbane Festival delays Fire Gardens event due to threat #qldfires @BrisFestival https://t.co/LWvDRsK6ui pic.twitter.com/RHzBog4TKr

Back in NSW, the rural fire service advises the threat at Flagstone Rd in Legume has eased, and firefighters have contained the fire.

They’re continuing to monitor the situation and will extinguish hotspots.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is cutting her trip short given the bushfire crisis currently engulfing her state.

Palaszczuk is currently in Lausanne, Switzerland meeting with International Olympic Committee officials in regard to a potential Queensland bid for the 2032 Olympic Games.

Deputy premier Jackie Trad has been acting premier, after the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission decided last week it would not investigate her over a house purchase.

BREAKING: Premier @AnnastaciaMP announces she will be cutting her trip short to return home amidst the bushfire emergency. @10NewsFirstQLD

Residents in Brookhill and Oak Valley south of Townsville are being advised by Queensland Fire and Emergency to prepare to leave, due to a fast-moving bushfire in Brookhill heading in a westerly direction, with conditions expected to get worse.

They advise that fire crews are working to contain the fire but may not be able to protect every property.

Local resident Rob Campbell on Monday night describing the fire at Peregian Beach. He said the “fireys have no chance”.

NSW Rural Fire Service has also issued a warning for residents on Long Gully Rd, Drake, after the fire breached containment lines in the Sandy Point area.

The fire is burning close to homes in the Sandy Hill area, and homes in Macleods Creek Road are under threat, they said.

People in Sandy Hill are advised to make final preparations now, while residents in Drake, Ewingar, Tilbaroo, and the western side of the Clarence River are advised to put their bush fire survival plan into action.

Fire and Rescue NSW is reporting there are 20 fire crews battling the blaze at the Moorebank factory. They’ve advised residents to stay indoors and keep windows closed due to all the smoke.

MOOREBANK | UPDATE: More than 20 #FRNSW crews are currently working to contain a large factory fire in Yulong Cl. The factory and adjoining businesses have been evacuated as aerial firefighting trucks attack the blaze. pic.twitter.com/vgUN28Dbz6

A dozen fire trucks are on the scene of a factory fire in Moorebank in Sydney’s south-west, Seven News is reporting.

BREAKING: Emergency services have been called to a devastating factory fire in Moorebank in Sydney’s south-west. Authorities have confirmed a dozen fire trucks are currently on the scene. #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/yL59IksPBp

Emergency services in Queensland are advising residents in Peregian Breeze Estate to evacuate south along Sunshine Motorway towards Nambour Showgrounds, while Peregian Beach and Marcus Beach residents should evacuate northerly towards Noosa.

The “fast-moving” fire is currently moving in a north, north-westerly direction from Peregian Beach towards the southern end of Lake Weyba.

Queensland Police also has this video of the water bombers working to fight the fire in Peregian filling up.

One of our crews working in the Peregian area has sent this video through of the water bombing effort going on. It’s an impressive sight and we are so thankful to the pilots for working so hard. #bushfire pic.twitter.com/qqp56US1Lt

Meanwhile, this is what it looks like when an air tanker drops fire retardant on the fire in NSW.

The Large Air Tanker coming in for another drop at the fire near Yamba. Retardant is being used to help slow the fire. #nswrfs #nswfires pic.twitter.com/gGnOuPxIt0

A fire in bushland and part of a Logan City Council storage facility was the fault of a 12-year-old boy who deliberately lit the fire, Queensland police allege.

The police allege in a statement that a group of juveniles were in bushland behind the Woodridge Skate Park when one boy deliberately lit a fire, which spread to a nearby storage centre and destroyed a fence, two shipping containers and the contents of those containers.

The fire was put out by emergency services, and after an investigation a 12-year-old boy from Slacks Creek was located. Police say he will be dealt with under the provisions of the Youth Justice Act.

Queensland police has shared this video taken from a police helicopter over the Peregian and OReillys fires on Monday night.

PolAir is continuing to provide aerial surveillance support to @QldFES above the SEQ fire grounds. This is what the #Peregian and OReillys fires looked like from the air last night. pic.twitter.com/OyrlPBnExZ

I’m going to hand you over to my colleague Josh Taylor now who will take you through the afternoon. Thanks for reading!

Earlier in September Queensland Fire and Emergency Services’ predictive services inspector, Andrew Sturgess, said the state had never before seen such serious bushfire conditions, so early in spring.

It raises the obvious question – why? This datablog from our own Nick Evershed – although a few years old – tries to answer the question of whether our bushfire seasons are getting long.

Related: Are Australia’s bushfire seasons getting longer?

Firefighters in New South Wales are still battling strong winds at a fire near the town of Yamba. Water-bombing aircraft are dropping fire retardant near homes under threat from the blaze.

WATCH AND ACT – Shark Creek fire (Clarence Valley) Firefighters and waterbombing aircraft are battling strong winds. Retardant has been dropped close to homes, and crews are working to slow the spread of the fire. Stay up to date at https://t.co/oPxupRUI86 #nswrfs #nswfires pic.twitter.com/GtsTEkOzHr

Carroll confirmed that there had been charges in relation to some of the fires currently burning.

She said officers were looking into the cause behind eight fires currently burning in the state. Earlier, police said detectives were investigating the cause of the fire at Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast and were “speaking with a number of teenagers” in relation to the matter.

OK let’s do a quick recap of that press conference

Carroll says that while some fires have “just clearly gotten away from kids thinking they are having fun” others have been “reckless and purposeful behaviour by others”.

“This task force will stay in place until I am satisfied that we have dealt with all fires across the state and will continue throughout the coming weeks,” she says.

Queensland’s police commissioner, Katarina Carroll, announcing she’s established a taskforce to investigate eight fires which have occurred in the last few days.

“That number will increase,” she says. “There are many, many charges that have already been laid in relation to this.”

A representative from Queensland fire and emergency services says the work in the fighting the blaze will continue “for days and weeks” because of the remoteness of some of the fires.

Of the fire at Peregian, he says it’s still “an active going fire”.

Richard Wardle from the Bureau of Meteorology speaking now. Says that “unfortunately” the long-term outlooks are for above average temperatures on Friday and Saturday with no significant rainfall predicted for the fire-affected areas.

“We do have those very high fire dangers over much of Queensland today with that very dry air mass,” he says.

She says there are 80 fires burning throughout Queensland.

“As I said before, it was nothing short of a miracle when you consider the ember storm that was engulfing those communities and how unpredictable and quickly that fire emerged late yesterday,” Trad says.

Trad says there are 400 people still at emergency evacuation centres near Peregian. She says there’s no timeline on when they will be able to return to their homes.

“Unfortunately we will not be able to provide advice to them to return back to their homes until proper safety assessments have been done on properties, as well as on transport routes to ensure we have a clear way through for firefighters, for emergency service vehicles, right throughout the day,” she says.

She’s scolding some of the reporting which suggested as many as a dozen properties had been destroyed in the fire.

“The single source of truth in relation to the unfolding bushfires throughout Queensland is the Queensland fire and emergency service and the Queensland Police. They are the ones on the ground, rolling up their sleeves, leading our state at a time when we are in unprecedented territory,” she says.

Queensland’s acting premier, Jackie Trad, is speaking now. She said last night’s “herculean efforts resulted in nothing short of a miracle”.

“More than 300 firefighters worked from 4.30 yesterday afternoon all throughout the night and many of them are still there working to contain the fire at Peregian,” she says.

As I mentioned earlier the Binna Burra Lodge, in the world-heritage-listed rainforest of Lamington national park, was destroyed by bushfire on the weekend.

Writer Mary-Rose MacColl has reflected on the lodge’s history:

Related: An obituary for Binna Burra Lodge, which first moved me when I was a teenager | Mary-Rose MacColl

A satellite map showing the spread of fires burning in the Lamington national park in Queensland.

An updated map of Lamington fires, including last nights VIIRS data and remote sensed sentinel2 active fire regions on Sat & Sun. At the two times the Sentinel2 satellite was overhead 73 ha of forest was burning with 31ha in rainforest. Yellow areas are a concern #qldfires pic.twitter.com/F45cvMKmdC

That feared southerly change at Shark Creek near Yamba has arrived.

The southerly change has reached the Shark Creek bush fire near Yamba. Firefighters are working close to homes in Angourie and Wooloweyah. The change may push the fire closer to Yamba today. The Large Air Tanker was used extensive yesterday to protect homes in the area. #NSWRFS pic.twitter.com/VXncDoi8RX

At least nine homes have been lost in fires burning across NSW. According to the state’s Rural Fire Service there are more than 50 bush and grass fires burning along the coast between Newcastle and Byron Bay and inland as far as Bourke.

There are three major out-of-control fires due to continuing high winds – the fire north of Yamba, another near Armidale in the New England area and another at Drake near Tenterfield.

This map (below) is helpful if you’re struggling to get your head around where the main fires of concern are burning.

You can see the two major fire fronts burning in Queensland, but authorities also have concerns about fires burning in New South Wales – in particular a fire burning near the town of Yamba.

Queensland deputy premier Jackie Trad is expected to give a news conference shortly to update us on the fire situation.

Reports last night that about 10 houses were destroyed in Peregian don’t appear to be correct in the (still hazy) light of day.

At this stage, we know one house was destroyed and a handful of others damaged.

The prime minister, Scott Morrison, has spoken to reporters about the bushfires burning across the two states this morning. Queensland police have reported people trying to access exclusion zones around Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast, and Morrison urged people to pay heed to the warnings from authorities.

“My simple message to Australians is to listen carefully to the warnings that are there, to follow those instructions, to not put yourself, if at all possible, in a position of risk, and to provide support to one another, as Australians always do in these circumstances,” Morrison said.

Some people are trying to gain access to the #Peregian exclusion zone via the beach. This is extremely dangerous. Please stay away as the emergency declaration is still in place. #bushfire pic.twitter.com/OUDpdIktV5

A day after fire ripped through the historic Binna Burra Lodge in Queensland’s Lamington national park, guests and staff have had to make a treacherous evacuation from another nearby eco-resort.

Authorities made the decision mid-afternoon on Monday to advise people to leave O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat.

The evacuation was abandoned late on Monday afternoon, after the fire shifted towards the Lamington National Park Road.

About 100 staff, guests and police officers who had been unable to leave spent about three hours at the resort waiting for news. Authorities coordinated their departure about 8pm.

The fire which destroyed two properties on the Sunshine Coast overnight continues to burn in a northerly direction on Tuesday.

Fire authorities in Queensland have issued an evacuation warning for residents in the areas of Peregian Beach, Peregian Breeze Estate, Marcus Beach and Weyba.

Good morning,

Firefighters are battling more than 100 bushfires in Queensland and New South Wales.

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