'Like an atomic bomb': Fires destroy Queensland homes, put NSW under siege

Bushfires have destroyed 15 homes in Queensland with residents in a number of hotspots warned they may have to flee as winds pick up.

A major fire is now affecting the border community of Applethorpe, where residents have again been ordered to evacuate after being allowed to briefly return home on Saturday morning.

The blaze is part of the Stanthorpe fire, which destroyed seven structures including three homes overnight.

A 'prepare to leave' warning is also in place for Stanthorpe and The Summit.

The same warning is in place for Binna Burra in the Lamington National Park, southwest of the Gold Coast, and the nearby community of Beechmont.

A bushfire near the rural town of Canungra burns on Friday. Source: AAP

Part of that fire is also burning east towards the Numinbah Valley and Springbrook.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services say 11 homes have already been lost in Sarabah and Binna Burra.

Residents have been warned to prepare to leave as firefighting aircraft and ground crews fight to protect properties.

A 'prepare to leave' warning is also in place for residents at Riverview, between Ipswich and Brisbane, where a fast-moving fire is burning in a southeasterly direction.

A fire has also ignited in far north Queensland near where a house was destroyed on Thursday, near Mareeba, but is not threatening homes at this stage.

A fire burns in Illinbah. About 50 fires continue to burn throughout Queensland. Source: AAP

About 50 fires continue to burn across the state, and while temperatures and wind speeds have dropped significantly, conditions are still gusty and causing headaches for fire crews.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has promised support for traumatised families left homeless by the fires.

"Our community will pull together and definitely make sure that they get back on their feet," she told reporters.

So far there has been no loss of life, but one man in his 20s was taken to hospital in a stable condition after collapsing while fighting a fire at a home at Clagiraba on the Gold Coast.

Residents try to put out a bushfire threatening their property near Canungra. Source: AAP

Residents in fire ravaged areas have been sharing dramatic photos and videos online, with fast-moving fires on ridge lines turning the sky blood red.

Stanthorpe woman Samantha Wantling has struggled for words to describe what's happened to the landscape.

"It's like an atomic bomb went off," she has told the ABC.

Rural Fire Service spokeswoman Kaye Healing says crews around Canungra are exhausted, with the weather bureau saying winds are still gusting up to 50km/h.

"They're fatigued and it's extremely stressful," she told the broadcaster.

"They're members of these communities and they've watched houses burn down and there hasn't been a damn thing they could do about it."

NSW battles blazes

A 66-year-old volunteer firefighter has suffered serious burns to his entire body and six homes are believed lost as NSW fire crews battle almost 20 uncontained bush and grass fires.

Tenterfield local Neville Smith's hands, arm, legs, back, face and airways were burned on Friday while he and a colleague fought the Mount Mackenzie Road fire, which had burned more than 3500 hectares south of the Tenterfield township by Saturday afternoon.

He was stabilised at the local hospital, intubated and then flown to Royal Brisbane Hospital, where he remains in a critical-but-stable condition.

"He is expected to remain in the intensive care unit for some time," RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told reporters on Saturday.

"We are working closely with his immediate family, colleagues and friends."

The truck he was in was destroyed by fire but his colleague was unharmed.

"It is a sobering reminder how dangerous and volatile these firegrounds are and particularly given the underlying drought conditions and the dryness in the vegetation," he said.

Some 60 fires remain burning across the state, 19 of which are uncontrolled.

Most of the activity is in the state's north, though an emergency warning - the sixth issued since Friday morning - has been issued for a south coast blaze.

The RFS said strong winds were helping the new blaze, near Cobargo in the Bega Valley area, move quickly east.

Emergency warnings are also in place for blazes in northern NSW - at Drake in the Tenterfield region and at Bees Nest near Armidale.

Up to six homes have been reported destroyed in the Drake and Bees Nest blazes but assessment teams were having difficulty accessing the fireground, Mr Fitzsimmons said.

The Bees Nest blaze has torched 50,000 hectares, twice the size of the Sydney city council area.

People in Tyringham, Dundurrabin and have been told it's too late to leave.

"These fires are starting easily and are spreading very, very quickly and aggressively," Mr Fitzsimmons said.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state was well-prepared and resourced to battle the blazes, due to investments including a large air tanker.

"But nothing can match nature," she told reporters.

Armidale, Clarence Valley, Glen Innes, Inverell, Tenterfield, Uralla and Walcha local government areas have been declared natural disaster zones, allowing residents to access state and federal financial support.

No areas of NSW have a total fire ban on Saturday, but the northeast of the state and far south coast all sit in the very high fire danger range, the RFS says.

It expects some fires will burn for weeks.

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