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Queensland fire conditions ease but QFES says there's no reprieve for Yeppoon, Cooroibah firefighters

ABC News logo ABC News 11/11/2019 5:48:05
Despite bushfire conditions easing today, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) say there will be no reprieve for firefighters, who are focusing their efforts on existing fires © ABC News ImagesDespite bushfire conditions easing today, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) say there will be no reprieve for firefighters, who are focusing their efforts on existing fires

Despite bushfire conditions easing today, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) say there will be no reprieve for firefighters, who are focusing their efforts on existing fires.

Bushfire conditions in the central and south-east parts of the state are expected to worsen tomorrow as officials predict winds to pick up, fanning dozens of flare-ups that have already forced thousands from their homes.

QFES confirmed eight houses, and four sheds were lost in the fire at Cobraball fire south-west of Yeppoon. One house was also destroyed by the blaze at Cooroibah, on the Sunshine Coast.

There are 51 fires still burning across the state - seven with warnings for people to prepare to leave.

Despite bushfire conditions easing today, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) say there will be no reprieve for firefighters, who are focusing their efforts on existing fires. © ABC News ImagesDespite bushfire conditions easing today, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) say there will be no reprieve for firefighters, who are focusing their efforts on existing fires.

Those are located near Yeppoon in central Queensland, in the Scenic Rim, the Lockyer Valley, and west of Gympie.

Firefighters spent another tireless night battling the uncontained fire at Cobraball.

QFES Assistant Commissioner Megan Stiffler said new recruits were flown to the Yeppoon blaze overnight to help strengthen containment lines and provide support to tired firefighters.

Despite bushfire conditions easing today, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) say there will be no reprieve for firefighters, who are focusing their efforts on existing fires. © ABC News ImagesDespite bushfire conditions easing today, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) say there will be no reprieve for firefighters, who are focusing their efforts on existing fires.

"The challenge we've had is the fire activity at night has been as tumultuous as it traditionally is during the day so it's difficult for us in the dark to get our people out and about safely," she said.

At its peak yesterday there were more than 53 appliances and 11 aircraft fighting the Cobraball fire, and an estimated 1,000 firefighters in the field statewide.

"We are not expecting any ease to our firefighting activity. Whilst [today] has better fire conditions, we are going to work very hard on those [existing] fires because come Tuesday we're expected to be up to the severe and extreme range in fire behaviour," she said.

Despite bushfire conditions easing today, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) say there will be no reprieve for firefighters, who are focusing their efforts on existing fires. © ABC News ImagesDespite bushfire conditions easing today, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) say there will be no reprieve for firefighters, who are focusing their efforts on existing fires.

"We will see that behaviour continue through until Thursday so this is going to be a full week of firefighting and high activity on those firegrounds.

Divisional commander Acting Inspector Archie Andrews said, despite a flare-up yesterday afternoon, the Cooroibah fire had been contained and firefighters were monitoring the situation.

"Overnight crews patrolled all three areas of concern [including Cooroibah and Noosa Banks] and they've blacked out all the hotspots," he said.

Despite bushfire conditions easing today, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) say there will be no reprieve for firefighters, who are focusing their efforts on existing fires. © ABC News ImagesDespite bushfire conditions easing today, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) say there will be no reprieve for firefighters, who are focusing their efforts on existing fires.

"We only have one small area opposite Noosa Banks that we're going to liaise with parks and wildlife this morning."

Noosa mayor Tony Wellington said, while the conditions had eased, he was "still very wary of what the weather's going to bring".

"We're not out of the woods just yet," he said.

Despite bushfire conditions easing today, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) say there will be no reprieve for firefighters, who are focusing their efforts on existing fires. © ABC News ImagesDespite bushfire conditions easing today, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) say there will be no reprieve for firefighters, who are focusing their efforts on existing fires.

"These are new patterns of weather . very different conditions from what we experienced last century".

The Bureau of Meteorology said while there was no rain on the radar, moist conditions brought by the sea breeze were certainly more favourable for firefighters today.

"That wind initially coming from the west to south-west [will be] fairly light in the morning but once again to the afternoon that sea breeze will come in fairly fresh from the north-east," BOM forecaster Michael Knepp said.

"On Tuesday [there will] probably be a little more of a strength to the south-westerly but still we'll have a sea breeze coming through."

Despite bushfire conditions easing today, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) say there will be no reprieve for firefighters, who are focusing their efforts on existing fires. © ABC News ImagesDespite bushfire conditions easing today, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) say there will be no reprieve for firefighters, who are focusing their efforts on existing fires.

Fire may have started after ADF training exercise In Lower Beechmont, where flames came perilously close to properties on Saturday, residents said they are frustrated about reports the fire started during army training at the neighbouring Kokoda Barracks.

Local resident Victoria Edmonds, who runs Rainbow Bridge Family Day Care in Lower Beechmont, said locals heard live firing exercise the day before the fire started.

"Someone has to answer for this," she said.

Despite bushfire conditions easing today, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) say there will be no reprieve for firefighters, who are focusing their efforts on existing fires. © ABC News ImagesDespite bushfire conditions easing today, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) say there will be no reprieve for firefighters, who are focusing their efforts on existing fires.

"Anywhere in the country where defence land backs onto residential properties, there needs to be something in place and communication."

The Australian Defence Force declined to answer questions in relation to the blaze, but in an Facebook message on the Lower Beechmont Rural Fire Brigade page, Colonel Arran Hassell from the Kokoda Barracks conceded the ADF may have been responsible.

"We have not formally investigated the cause of the fire, but I am conscious that we had an Army unit conducting training in the East of the Training Area the week when the fire started," he said.

"As a part of their training a small fire was started, burnt out an area of 3m x 3m, but we believed we had extinguished it.

"It is entirely possible that this fire reignited on Sunday 27 October and has led to the current fire."

'It was quite scary' Yesterday all Sunshine Coast residents who had been evacuated were permitted to return home but were urged to remain alert.

Helen and Tony Doughty were forced to flee their home after the flames lapped at the edges of their property.

"We only had five minutes or less to get out so we didn't have a chance to do anything," Ms Doughty said.

"We've just lost all our bushland all our gardens, the big gumtree there which overhangs our house is singed all around it. I don't know how the firemen saved our house..

"Everything is gone."

But Ms Doughty said they were incredibly lucky, their neighbours lost their entire home.

"They are devastated," she said.

Noosa Banks resident Graham Nisbet was thankful to return Sunday afternoon to find his home spared from damage.

"It was quite scary going down the back and seeing how close it got," he said.

"They [fire crews] did an amazing job to stop it. It was pretty fierce down there."

Cooroibah resident Christine Newey was relieved to finally be allowed home last night, after a two-night stint in the Noosaville evacuation centre alongside friends who were visiting from the UK.

"It was palpable, to walk in our house and for it to be there," she said.

"My friends didn't come to Australia expecting to end up in an emergency centre, they are very relieved too."

Another local, volunteer firefighter Mike Orkibi, spent Friday night defending his own Noosa Banks backyard from the blaze.

"I got in a truck straight away . and joined a team who was already here and we started doing some work," he said.

"It was a big roar coming towards and I can understand the residents here wanting to get out."

Animal conservationists have also begun to arrive at some areas to carry out initial searches for injured wildlife.

Queensland Koala crusaders arrived at the Cooroibah conservation area this morning.

RSPCA and Australia Zoo representatives have also been on hand to administer emergency medical assistance for animals affected by the fire but their efforts have been hampered by safety risks.

11. marraskuuta 2019 7:48:05 Categories: ABC News Länsiväylä Puheenaihe

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