'This is a tragedy unfolding': Several homes destroyed in QLD and NSW fires

Yahoo News Australia and agencies

Around 50 fires are burning across Queensland and a similar number of bush and grassland fires are burning in NSW, with some expected to burn for weeks.

Authorities are urging people to stay vigilant, and keep up-to-date with warnings.

Seventeen homes destroyed in QLD

Seventeen homes have been destroyed in Queensland as bushfires continue to blaze across the state.

At least nine homes were lost in the Gold Coast hinterland community of Binna Burra on Friday night, where an emergency situation has been declared and residents have been ordered to evacuate immediately.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services have said more homes are expected to be destroyed.

On Thursday, one home was destroyed in North Queensland and another home was destroyed on Friday in Sarabah.

In border town of Stanthorpe there are unconfirmed reports of two homes being destroyed.

An emergency situation also remains in place in Stanthorpe, where fires are continuing to be fanned by strong winds.

The New England Highway has since been reopened in the area, and some residents are being allowed to return to their homes.

The bushfire warning in Stanthorpe has been downgraded to 'watch and act', with residents being advised to remain alert as conditions could flare up again quickly.

Residents around Applethorpe have also been told to prepare to leave at short notice.

The Bureau of Meteorology says a cool change is pushing through the state, but that strong and gusty westerly winds will fuel fires.

"We still have a very high fire danger over the next few days given it's windy and dry, so not ideal fire fighting weather from that point," Meteorologist Harry Clark told AAP on Saturday.

Bushfire near the rural town of Canungra in the Scenic Rim region of South East Queensland, Friday, September 6, 2019. Source: AAP Image/Regi Varghese
Bushfire near the rural town of Canungra in the Scenic Rim region of South East Queensland, Friday, September 6, 2019. Source: AAP Image/Regi Varghese

Residents told to evacuate immediately

Residents in Binna Burra have been ordered to evacuate immediately. QLD Fire and Emergency Services say this fire is the biggest threat in QLD.

Ten homes have already been lost in Binna Burra, and more are expected to be destroyed.

If you do not have a plan, your safest option is to leave immediately if it is clear to do so," QFES warns.

"If you cannot leave, identify where you will seek shelter from the bushfire. If you are not in the area, do not return, as conditions are too dangerous."

There have been no confirmed reports of deaths or serious injuries but four people in Queensland have already been rescued by helicopter.

Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen said conditions were still volatile.

“This is a tragedy unfolding,” he told media Saturday. “For many people.”

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed at 10:30am on Saturday morning that 17 properties had been lost, with that number expected to rise.

The Premier also said she will help families who are left homeless.

"This is a person's home, this is where they raise their children, their grandchildren. So we have a number of families at the moment you are actually going through some really traumatic times," she said.

A property under threat from bushfire near the rural town of Canungra in the Scenic Rim region of South East Queensland, Friday, September 6, 2019. Residents of the Gold Coast hinterland community of Sarabah, where a fast-moving bushfire is spreading, has been told to leave and move to the Canungra Showgrounds. Source: AAP Image/Regi Varghese
A property under threat from bushfire near the rural town of Canungra in the Scenic Rim region of South East Queensland, Friday, September 6, 2019. Residents of the Gold Coast hinterland community of Sarabah, where a fast-moving bushfire is spreading, has been told to leave and move to the Canungra Showgrounds. Source: AAP Image/Regi Varghese

She also warned Queenslanders of health risks from dust and smoke haze, and told those with conditions such as asthma to stay inside.

On Saturday morning the fire was moving in an easterly direction towards Binna Burra Road.

QFES is warning power, water, and mobile phone services may be lost and road conditions may become very dangerous.

People in the area will be affected by smoke, which will reduce visibility and air quality. People can seek refuge at Tamborine Memorial Hall.

Several other fires are burning in the Gold Coast hinterland, but are not posing an immediate threat.

QFES are on the scene fighting a bush fire near Tunnel Ridge Road and Gympie Street North, Landsborough.

Authorities have said the fire is not posing threat to properties at this point.

However, Maroochy River Rural Fire Brigade were first on the scene early this morning, fighting the “fast moving and dangerous” blaze.

QFES said motorists should drive with caution in the area and if residents have any concerns for their property, they should call Triple Zero.

NSW Firefighters battling blazes in ‘difficult conditions’

According to NSW Fire and Rescue Service, more than 65 bush and grass fires are burning across NSW. Three of the fires have an emergency warning.

More than 500 firefighters will be battling the blazes across the state, in the difficult conditions.

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.

Residents of Tyringham, Merengo, Hernani, Meldrum and Dundarrabin are being advised to seek shelter as a fire approaches, as the out as it is too late to leave. Fire crews are working to protect properties along Merngo Road, Armidale Road and Harness Cask Road as the fire is heading east.

NSW RFS are advising residents to take shelter in a solid structure and protect yourself from the heat. Authorities also said embers may be blow ahead of the fire, posing a threat to properties. Smoke from this fire may affect Dorrigo and Coffs Harbour.

Dust and smoke from the fires and windy conditions continue to affect parts of the state.

A firefighter is in a critical condition at Royal Brisbane Hospital.

The 66-year-old volunteer firefighter suffered serious burns to his hands, arm, legs, back, face and airways., while battling a fire in the Tenterfield area.

The firefighter was one of two firefighters in a firetruck in the Tenterfield area. The other fire was uninjured, however the firetruck was destroyed by fire, according to NSW Rural Fire Service.

“Sadly, this injury serves as a sobering reminder about how dangerous the conditions are, and the risks that our firefighters take to protect their communities,” NSW RFS said in a statement.

Emergency warnings are in place for two blazes in the Tenterfield region in northern NSW and one at Bees Nest near Armidale, the NSW Rural Fire Service said on Saturday.

A further 26 fires remain out of control, including a 1000-hectare blaze at Legume near Tenterfield that may threaten homes again if conditions change.

Four residential properties and a shooting range are thought to have been destroyed in the Tenterfield area, according to police.

Fire crews undertake back burning near Railway Crescent, Belmont, Lake Macquarie, NSW on Thursday. NSW Rural Fire Service has issued an emergency warning for an out-of-control bushfire burning in Lake Macquarie. Source: AAP Image/Darren Pateman
Fire crews undertake back burning near Railway Crescent, Belmont, Lake Macquarie, NSW on Thursday. NSW Rural Fire Service earlier issued an emergency warning for an out-of-control bushfire burning in Lake Macquarie. Source: AAP Image/Darren Pateman

The New England Highway at Tenterfield, and Waterfall Way at Ebor have been reopened after they were closed earlier.

But trees falling across roads is limiting access into and out of firegrounds, for both residents and firefighters, RFS spokesman Ben Shepherd said.

"We continue to see quite erratic fire behaviour," he said.

"We will see the winds strengthen again across the day and they will push the fires in an easterly and northeasterly direction.”

The NSW RFS have issued an emergency warning for Long Gully Road, in the Tenterfield village of Drake.

“Residents advised to seek shelter as the fire arrives. Protect yourself from the heat of the fire.”

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter, download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play and stay up to date with the latest news with Yahoo’s daily newsletter. Sign up here.