Dozens of fires out of control in Qld

Dozens of fires out of control in Qld

LOCALS forced to flee their Gold Coast hinterland homes to escape the Binna Burra inferno have been allowed back into the area to assess the damage.

Residents have been forewarned about the destruction they could face after some homes were lost, while others have been told they can check on their pets and collect medication.

Officials have declared 47 homes across the state are either damaged or completely destroyed, including the historic Binna Burra Lodge in the Gold Coast hinterland.

Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said on Monday the emergency is far from over.

“I think we are through the worst of it, but we still have a couple of days to go before it really starts to cool down,” he said.

Firefighters are still battling more than 65 fires across the state.

Early on Monday the Gold Coast hinterland fire was burning on both sides of Binna Burra Rd, south of Summerville Rd, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said.

The fire is not threatening any homes but residents have been warned that strong winds are still making conditions volatile.

Crews have contained a fire around the Queensland border towns of Stanthorpe and Applethorpe, but they will be tested by dry winds.

“But again it’s a very well resourced fire, and we are confident we will be able to hold that, and if there are any outbreaks we will be able to get onto those very quickly,” Acting Fire Commissioner Mike Wassing said.

An exclusion zone remains in place, but some residents are starting to return to their homes to check the extent of the damage, with at least eight structures including three homes have been destroyed there.

One far north Queensland home was burnt down last week, and fires are now burning north of Rockhampton, another near Gympie and one west of Toowoomba, but no homes are under threat in those areas.

Fire bans remain in place across most of the state, which is tinder-dry.

The RSPCA has sent a vet to the Gold Coast to assess injured livestock, and the community is arranging fodder drops.

The federal and state governments have promised assistance to those affected by the fires, including replenishing already dangerously low-water supplies used to fight fires around Stanthorpe.

The Insurance Council of Australia has also declared the situation a “catastrophe”, ensuring victims’ claims will be given priority.

Meanwhile Queensland police have warned anyone caught deliberately lighting fires face life imprisonment after some children lit a blaze at Pimpama on the Gold Coast on Sunday.

It was extinguished before it could cause any damage.