Firefighters scramble to contain blazes before temperatures hit 40s next week

Firefighters are hoping to contain fires across NSW before conditions get worse next week as another home was destroyed in Queensland.

NSW firefighters are hoping to get some critical back-burning and containment work done before temperatures soar early next week as dozens of bushfires continue to burn throughout the state.

There were almost 100 bush and grass fires in NSW on Saturday afternoon with more than 50 of them uncontained and 16 burning at the "watch and act" alert level.

They included the Gospers Mountain fire near Sydney's northwestern outskirts, which has burned nearly 300,000 hectares and merged with neighbouring fires.

Fire trucks are seen during a bushfire in Werombi, 50km south west of Sydney, on Friday. Source: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas.

NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said firefighters were hoping to see some easing of conditions before temperatures climb on Tuesday.

"We're certainly hoping to see... conditions easing over the next 24 hours with more of an easterly influence, which will hopefully allow firefighters... to really get in, consolidate and establish some containment lines.

"Because we are expecting a return to another hot day, particularly Tuesday.”

The satellite image shows smoke coming from fires burning near the coast of New South Wales, near Canberra and areas north to the border with Queensland on December 4. Source: EPA/NASA Earth Observatory

Temperatures set to soar above 40

The Bureau of Meteorology has painted a grim picture for the coming week, with winds forecast to whip dangerous fire grounds.

Some fires are generating plumes of smoke that are so vast, they appear as rain on the bureau's radar.

BoM has forecast temperatures to hit the low to mid 40s in the Hunter, Central Tablelands and western Sydney on Tuesday.

A member of the NSW Rural Fire Service looks past the Three Sisters rock formation shrouded in smoke from the Green Wattle Creek fire. Source: AAP Image/Steven Saphore.

In western Sydney, a maximum of 43C is forecast for Penrith while at Singleton in the Hunter it will be a maximum of 44C.

Temperatures will also soar in the state's northwest, where they are forecast to hit a maximum of 43C in Bourke. At Cobar in the central west, a maximum of 43C is also expected.

About 1000 homes have been either damaged or destroyed this bushfire season while almost 5000 homes have been saved, according to figures released by the RFS.

Meanwhile, a pilot was lucky to escape serious injury on Saturday after a NSW Rural Fire Service helicopter involved in the firefighting effort crashed north of Newcastle.

The man, who was the only person on board, was taken to John Hunter Hospital as a precaution after a hard landing at Crawford River.

More than 54,000 hectares have been destroyed in the Werombi bushfire. Source: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Fire destroys home in Queensland

A shipping container loaded with fireworks has exploded and a home reportedly destroyed as residents flee an unpredictable fire closing in on homes in southeast Queensland.

The fast-moving blaze was sparked by a house fire which spread to the shipping container just after 11am, police say.

The blaze is now burning in bushland at Bundamba, west of Brisbane, and travelling in a northerly direction from White Street towards the Warrego Highway.

Firefighters could not confirm the home was destroyed, but police said the structure was fully involved and two people were treated on scene for heat stress and smoke inhalation.

Police have declared an emergency situation for the area bound by Keith Street to Bognuda Street and Nelson Street to the Bremer River and Warrego Highway.

Firefighters are battling a blaze near Millmerran west of Toowoomba. Source: AAP Image/Supplied by Bracker Creek Rural Fire Brigade

Residents within the exclusion zone are being ordered to evacuate as the fire closes in.

People in the area of Bundamba and North Booval, bordered by Bognuda Street to the east, Mary Street to the south, North Station Road to the west and Warrego Highway to the north have been urged to leave now.

The warning includes residents on South Queensborough Parade and the Blue Gum Reserve Area in Karalee.

Fire crews and air support are working to contain the fire, but firefighters may not be able to protect every property.

Residents south of the river should head towards Ipswich and residents north of the river should head to the northern side of the Warrego Highway.

"Conditions are now very dangerous and firefighters may soon be unable to prevent the fire advancing. The fire may pose a threat to all lives directly in its path," the warning states.

The Brisbane skyline is seen from Mount Coot-Tha Lookout as smoke haze from bushfires drifts over the CBD in Brisbane. Source: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt.

Queensland’s heatwave conditions

Smoke from the blaze has added to the haze across the southeast as a southerly change pushes smoke from the NSW fires into the state.

The southeast corner of the state remains shrouded in smoke, with the World Health Quality index showing unhealthy levels of air quality across parts of Queensland.

"We have seen a southerly change move up from NSW and with it bringing more smoke from the NSW fires," Rosa Hoff, from BoM, said.

Fire danger in the southeast corner continues to trouble authorities as Brisbane swelters in 39C heat, with the mercury hitting 40.7C at Amberley near Ipswich.

The hot and dry weather sparking and fanning fires has been unrelenting, but a cool change is expected on Sunday.

"This southerly change means we will see temperatures ease down, however it will still be above average. It is a relief from the severe heatwave conditions, but it still not business as usual.

More than 40 fires are burning across Queensland, with at least 22 home destroyed. Source: AAP Image/Supplied by Bracker Creek Rural Fire Brigade.

"Our fire danger ratings will ease back to very high from severe."

Firefighters are pinning their hopes on that cool change for a desperately needed reprieve.

There are more than 40 fires burning across the state, with prepare to leave warnings in place for Esk, north-west of Brisbane, and Cornubia, south of the city.

A conservative estimate of 207,000 hectares of land burnt out since the start of the bushfire season is expected to rise, with 22 – possibly rising to 23 – homes lost.

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