Australia fires: NSW towns cut off by bushfire as Queensland residents told to leave

Fire north of Batemans Bay on the New South Wales south coast doubles in size, burning through more than 11,560 hectares
‘Absolutely suffocating’: how are you affected by smoke haze from Australia’s bushfires?


Residents face a nervous wait on Monday night as gusty, strong winds whip-up a blaze in the New South Wales Shoalhaven area which remains at emergency warning level.

The fire north of Batemans Bay has burnt through more than 16,000 hectares and was spreading quickly in a north-easterly direction towards coastal communities.

The Princes Highway was closed between Termeil and the Kings Highway turnoff, cutting access to coastal communities in the area.

The Rural Fire Service NSW warned those living in areas between Kioloa and North Durras, including Depot Beach, Pebbly Beach, Pretty Beach and Bawley Point, that it was too late to leave.

“Winds have picked and the fire is burning in a northeasterly direction towards the area of Turmeil,” the RFS tweeted.

“Firefighters are working in the area to protect homes.”

Some communities were cut off when the fire jumped the Princes Highway on Sunday night. Evacuation centres have been set up at Ulladulla and Batemans Bay.

Firefighters and aircraft, including large air tankers, have been working to slow the fire.

The Bureau of Meteorology says smoke is forecast to linger in parts of Sydney into Tuesday.

The heavy smoke blanketing the city is being blown from large bushfires in the Blue Mountains and near Warragamba Dam.

“It’s likely to remain smokey tonight,” the RFS tweeted.

There were some 125 bush and grass fires burning across NSW on Monday evening with 54 of these uncontained.

There was only one emergency warning – for the Currowan fire – while there were watch and act alerts for fires near Wollondilly, Singleton and Katoomba.

The out of control fire near Katoomba is burning across 600 hectares and is spreading towards “built-up areas”, the RFS says.

Two million hectares of land have been burnt since July in more than 7,000 fires which have raged across NSW in the “most challenging bushfire season ever”.

Six lives have been lost while 673 homes and 1,400 other buildings have been destroyed.

Residents told to evacuate in Qld

Queensland residents at Narangba, just north of Brisbane, are being urged to leave an area threatened by bushfires.

Firefighters say a fast-moving blaze is threatening properties on Alf Dobson Road between Schultz Road, Raynbird Road and Phillip Road. Residents should leave the area along Alf Dobson Road in any direction while it is still clear to do so.

The same blaze is also threatening Narangba Heights Estate.

Queensland Fire and Rescue said the fire is expected to affect visibility and air quality in the area.

Residents in Woodgate, south of Bundaberg in Queensland, have also been told to leave as a nearby bushfire worsens.

A fast-moving grass fire near Jarretts Road is travelling northwest, and is expected to impact the area between Heidkes Road to the end of Jarretts Road, bordered by the Gregory River.

Dry and windy conditions have pushed the fire danger rating to severe in parts of southern Queensland, as more than 50 fires burn across the state.

Brisbane meteorologist David Crock said the weather on Monday is a repeat of the conditions experienced four or five times since the start of the fire season in September.

“That combination of hot, dry and windy weather is the worst fire weather that we see, so the fire agencies and firefighters are certainly up against it today,” he said.

The severe fire danger warning is in place on Monday for the southeast coast, Wide Bay and Burnett region, Darling Downs and Granite Belt, Capricornia and Central Highlands and Coalfields.

Residents living in the vicinity of a concerning bushfire, burning north of Toowoomba, have been told to prepare to leave their homes as conditions could get worse quickly.

High temperatures are expected in far north Queensland early this week before pushing south, bringing maximums of around 40C in areas like the Lockyer Valley and Scenic Rim by the end of the week.

The Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast could experience temperatures of 35C, while in Brisbane it could reach 37C on Friday.

Support worker dies in Victoria

In Victoria a man was killed fighting a fire in the Gippsland region, authorities confirmed on Monday.

The support worker died late Saturday at the fires near Gelantipy, chief fire officer for Forest Fire Management Victoria, Chris Hardman said.

“Tragically, a man working in support of our firefighter activities near Gelantipy died late Saturday. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and workmates,” he said in a statement.

Victoria Police were preparing a report for the coroner on Monday and WorkSafe was also investigating.

In Western Australia an Indigenous community in the state’s north was being threatened by a bushfire on Monday.

A “watch and act” alert was issued for Coconut Wells north of Broome on Sunday and remained in place on Monday morning.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services said the cause of the fire, which has burnt 7,500 hectares, was not known.

If you are in a bushfire-affected area stay tuned to your local emergency broadcaster. Full alerts can be found here for NSW and here for Queensland.