'It's not over yet': 150,000 hectares burn as Queensland braces for firestorm

Authorities have warned the “danger isn’t over” as 150,000 hectares burns on the NSW Central Coast and Queensland braces for bushfires.

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) warns the fire is continuing to travel from Cobraball, southwest of Yeppoon, towards Bungundarra, Maryvale and Lake Mary.

With temperatures set to reach 36 degrees in the state’s southeast, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned a wind change from northerly to south-westerley will hamper conditions on the ground for fatigued firefighters.

In NSW, Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told reporters on Wednesday morning 83 fires are still burning in the state and 50 of them are “un-contained”.

A fire truck passes a bushfire in Nana Glen, near Coffs Harbour. Source: AAP

Mr Fitzsimmons said the Liberation Trail fire, west of Coffs Harbour, is of a “significant size”.

"Overnight it burned down and spotted down very close to, in and around areas like Nana Glen. That fire remains at emergency warning," he said.

"It's in the order of 150,000 hectares, which means you're talking about a fire reach, a fire perimeter, of more than 1000km.

“The enormity of the task to bring these fires properly under control, to consolidate them, to get around them and mop them up is enormous.”

NSW firefighters dealt with extremely challenging conditions Tuesday, and while the difficult weather has eased somewhat, the battle is far from over with more than 70 fires still burning across the state Wednesday morning.

More than 100 NSW schools remain closed too.

A NSW RFS firefighter cleans up a burnt property at South Turramurra. Source: Getty Images

Premier ‘hugely relieved’ but ‘danger isn’t over’

NSW Premier Gladys Bereljiklian told reporters she’s “hugely relieved” after the work done by firefighters.

“Whilst we're not over the threat yet, we are certainly through what was yesterday catastrophic weather conditions coupled with a number of very high level emergency fires,” she said.

“I just want to thank everybody for stepping up, but I also urge everybody to remain cautious and vigilant and to make sure the next few days that everybody still heeds to the warnings, still listens, it is on high alert to make sure we continue to protect life and property.”

Residents armed with a hose fight a bushfire at Hillsville near Taree. Source: Getty Images

Labor leader Anthony Albanese tweeted “the danger isn’t over”.

“Fires are still burning across NSW and Queensland is facing a shocking day today,” he tweeted.

“Please keep listening to the warnings. Please keep heeding the advice. Please stay safe.”

Queensland conditions could turn ‘erratic’

QFES acting commissioner Mike Wassing said he was comfortable with the status of the state's largest blazes but containment lines would be tested when the winds shift.

“In saying that, we've got resources ready for any new outbreaks - but if we get new fires, under these conditions, they can be very erratic,” he said.

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Another primary area of concern is the Scenic Rim, west of the Gold Coast, where defence force personnel have been creating breaks around fires burning in remote terrain since September.

Queenslanders have been warned to expect a return to poor air quality, with dust adding to the smoke haze.

The southeast coast including Brisbane and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts face severe fire danger.

That also applies to the drought-stricken Darling Downs and Granite Belt region west of Brisbane, which lost houses earlier this fire season.

A burnt-out car, cabin and sheds owned by resident Thorsten Kels at Lake Cooroibah Road, Noosa on Monday. Source: AAP/Rob Maccoll

The fire in the Mount Lizard area is safely burning within containment lines and backburning operations have been completed nearby, with crews remaining at the scene throughout the day.

Meanwhile, a Watch and Act alert has been triggered for residents at Adelaide Park, with a warning people should be ready to leave the area because the situation could get worse quickly, the QFES said.

Firefighters battling more than 50 blazes across the state are hoping the containment lines will hold ahead of a testing wind change and deteriorating conditions.

Firefighters save a house on Bullocky Way, Possum Brush, south of Taree on Tuesday. Source: AAP

In Queensland on Wednesday morning, there are six fires at Watch and Act or higher:

  • Barney View/Palen Creek

  • Clumber and Moogerah (south of Boonah).

  • Tarome

  • Rosevale (south west of Ipswich)

  • Kilkivan

  • Cobraball/Bungundarra/Maryvale/Lake Mary fire near Rockhampton. The Adelaide Park fire is part of this fire

Get the latest warnings for Queensland fires here.



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