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Frightening image shows ferocity of Queensland bushfires

Author
Newstalk ZB, news.com.au,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 10 September 2019, 3:42PM
Satellite fire shows the extent of the fire plaguing the state.

If you want to get an idea of just how ferocious today's bushfires are in Queensland and New South Wales, look down from the sky.

Satellite imagery, aired by Channel 9, has shown the blaze's impact near Angourie in northern NSW. The fire can be seen creeping across the peninsula devastating everything in its path.

More than 80 fires are now raging, 17 homes have been lost and a further 67 damaged.

Fire and Rescue teams fight a wild bushfire as it approaches Peregian Beach township. Photo / news.com.au

Fire and Rescue teams fight a wild bushfire as it approaches Peregian Beach township. Photo / news.com.au

Strong winds have helped whip up bushfires. Residents in the Sunshine Coast towns of Peregian Beach and Marcus Beach have been told to "leave immediately" as a fast-moving bushfire marches north. Brisbanites have been advised to close doors and windows as dust and smoke from the fires heads south.

Police are looking into whether arson may be behind ferocious blazes that have rocked the Sunshine Coast with three children under investigation.

Queensland's top cop said there has been "reckless and purposeful behaviour" in the vicinity of the bushfires.

Eight fires are being investigated for possible human involvement.

'MIRACLE'

Acting Queensland premier Jackie Trad said it was "nothing short of a miracle" more homes have not been lost.

The fire affecting Peregian Beach and Peregian Breeze Estate, south of Noosa, is burning north, towards Marcus Beach.

It is not considered to be under control and the situation remains extremely volatile.

A 'leave now' order is current for residents of Peregian Beach, Peregian Breeze Estate and Marcus Beach.

Prepare to leave warnings are in place for residents north of the fire front including at Weyba, Weyba Downs, Peregian Springs, and Castaways Beach.

The other major fire of concern on Tuesday is the one that's destroyed at least eight homes and the heritage listed lodge in the Gold Coast hinterland.

Trad said the fact no one had died, no one was missing and damage was limited was an extraordinary outcome.

"Last night's herculean efforts resulted in nothing short of a miracle," she told reporters on Tuesday.

In Northern NSW, strong winds could push a fire close to Shark Creek and Angourie, east of Grafton, towards homes. There are also blazes at Bees Nest near Armidale and Drake near Tenterfield.

Bushfire approaching Peregian Beach township. Photo / news.com.au

Bushfire approaching Peregian Beach township. Photo / news.com.au

The Shark Creek blaze has destroyed least nine homes and 34 outbuildings.

Firefighters spent the night trying to protect property but have been unable to bring the fires under control.

"Just trying to get containment on these fires is a nightmare," NSW Rural Fire Service deputy commissioner Rob Rogers told Channel 9.

ARSON PROBE

Three Queensland teenagers are being interviewed by police after allegedly boasting on the internet that they lit a devastating fire on the Sunshine Coast. The teens reportedly used a local chat room to admit to lighting the fast moving Peregian fire on Monday afternoon.

The Peregian Beach Surf and Lifesaving Club posted on its Facebook page that they were sent a screenshot of an internet chat room message. "It has been reported that three teenage boys handed themselves in after the screenshot was passed around by their friends," the surf club posted.

Queensland Police have told news.com.au that no charges have yet been laid. But Acting But Queensland Police commissioner Katarina Carroll has said on Tuesday a taskforce has been set up to investigate suspicious fires.

Channel 9 have shown an image of a message reportedly between some teens.

In the message, one person says they lit a small fire and then "stomped it out" but another person "did a big fire and thru (sic) it all over the bush."

"You're dead" is the reply.

"Bro, it's not me. I wouldn't do that".

Police wouldn't confirm the teens came to their attention because of the message but have confirmed officers were speaking with the boys over a fire that started in bushland off Koel Circuit in Peregian Springs about 4.30pm on Monday. No charges have been laid.

Commissioner Carroll said parents needed to have a word with their kids.

"Some fires have just clearly gotten away from kids thinking they are having fun. There has been reckless and purposeful behaviour from others."

"Parents, please speak to your children. These are not usual conditions, they are actually quite dangerous," she said.

A bushfire emergency situation has been officially declared in Queensland's southeast, with at least 10 homes in the Peregian Beach area already lost. That number is expected to rise.

Authorities have described the situation as the worst start to the Queensland bushfire season in history, with new footage from inside the Peregian Beach disaster zone revealing the extent of the horror.

A 737 swept in over the sunshine coast. Photo / news.com.au

A 737 swept in over the sunshine coast. Photo / news.com.au

The short clip shows lava-like embers being blown across the ground by strong winds as firefighters desperately battle to keep the blaze under control.

Residents of Marcus Beach, near Noosa in Queensland, have also now been told to evacuate with the fire now heading in that direction, and firefighters are currently water bombing blazes around Binna Burra in the state.

There are now 82 blazes burning across Queensland, with fire now moving fast in a north-northeast direction from Emu Mountain Rd towards Peregian Beach and Peregian Breeze Estate.

Today reporters said last night's conditions were "like it was raining fire".

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services have urged residents of Peregian Beach to evacuate immediately, while those from Weyba, Weyba Downs, Peregian Springs, Castaways Beach and Marcus Beach have been told to be prepared to leave the area.

About 400 people have already fled their homes for evacuation centres, with schools closed and more than 1000 homes experiencing power outages as a result of the blaze.

Hot and very dry conditions are expected along the Queensland coast today with winds of up to 80km/h likely to impact fire zones.

Northern NSW has also been affected by fires, with 58 blazes now burning near the town of Yamba and surrounding areas.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters this morning residents in fire zones should listen to warnings, follow instructions from emergency services and not put themselves at risk.

He also urged people to support each other and paid tribute to the "true national heroes" who were battling the blazes.

More than 200 firefighters are now battling the fire at Peregian Beach, which is just metres from homes.

Sunshine Coast photographer Jason Bull took the following photo in Peregian Springs on Monday night.

"This was taken just down the road from where I live. As of 8.30pm, there was 40 fire trucks trying to fight it and it still not under control. I have heard of 10 homes being destroyed but haven't confirmed that. Very sad. It is still so windy at the moment. It's going to be a long night up here," he said.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) has advised residents in the Peregian Beach area "will be affected by smoke, which will reduce visibility and air quality".

People who believe they or their property could be under threat are advised to call triple-0 immediately.

QFES also advises residents to listen to their local radio station or visit the Rural Fire Service (RFS) website for regular updates, as well as referring to their bushfire survival plan.

Windows and doors should also be closed to minimise smoke exposure, and residents should drive with caution in low visibility conditions.

Noosa local disaster co-ordinator Carl Billingham told the ABC the Sunshine Coast blaze remained out of control.

"We've got about 250 to 300 people in our three evacuations centres, I believe we've got three fire waterbombing helicopters coming in to try and douse the fire where possible and we've got over 70 tenders in attendance of the fire," he said.

 

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